As an addict, I often do not think about the other sides of the drug coin. I think about fallout for addicts and their families, but I do not think about the fallout for the drug mules and children of opium farmers. In the last two days, I have come across articles discussing the fallout in Afghanistan.
According to RAWA.org , the drug trade between Afghanistan and Iran has devastated families in Afghanistan. The dope sells for twice as much just across the border, so children are enticed into smuggling the drugs across the border. One young man noticed some friends making money, and he was soon swallowing balloons of heroin to make a few hundred dollars. Across the border, he only expelled half the balloons. He was only paid a potion of the money, and he returned home with 7 capsules still in his stomach. The pain in his stomach started shortly thereafter. His family took him to an illicit doctor to remove the capsules. His family spent double what he earned on surgery, and he still has stomach pain.
Children are often used for smuggling. If they are caught, they will eventually be released from prison. In Iran, smuggling carries a capital punishment, but children will not be killed for this crime. It is estimated that 60 children have died from 4 villages in the last decade while smuggling heroin. And as many as 1,000 children have disappeared from this area since 2002 after they were persuaded to smuggle heroin across the Iranian border. Sometimes parents even rent their children out for smuggling, while other times the children are paid on their own.