The Drug Epidemic in Asia

by Asyura Salleh

Under the fury of COVID-19, the world slowly moved to a standstill as people retreated into the safety of their homes. Roads lay deserted, transportation links ceased, and borders were shut.

How did the Golden Triangle become a drug hotspot?

The Golden Triangle straddles three national boundaries and is filled with dense forests. The region is where the borders of the three countries (Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar) meet at the confluence of the Ruak and the Mekong rivers.

What drives meth production in the Golden Triangle?
The true causes and costs of drugs in Asia
Shipping drugs from the Golden Triangle to Southeast Asia
Asia’s drug problem requires collective effort to fix
Disclaimer: Our stories have been researched and fact-checked to the best of our abilities. Should you spot mistakes, inaccuracies, or have queries about our sources, please drop us an e-mail at
In collaboration with
Asyura Salleh / Freelance Writer

Asyura Salleh is a Research Vasey Fellow at the Pacific Forum and Maritime Security Advisor at the Yokosuka Council of Asia Pacific Affairs. She has a strong passion in maritime security and complements her research work with policy experience in supporting regional agencies in tackling maritime crime. In addition to her Masters in War Studies from King's College London, Asyura earned a PhD from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

Illustration / Griselda Gabriele
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