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Myanmar's Jade Scavengers Use Heroin to Relieve Pain
In Hpakant, Kachin state, Myanmar, producer of some of world's highest quality jade, narcotics addiction is common among gem scavengers.
/ Updated 13 PHOTOS
Myanmar miners search for jade stones at a mine dump in Hpakant, Kachin state, Myanmar on Nov. 25, 2015. Using heavy earth-excavators and explosives, miners have been tearing into Myanmar's northern hills in recent months, in a rush to excavate more jade from the world's richest deposits of the gemstone before a new government takes office.— Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
Miners search for jade stones at a Hpakant jade mine dump at night in Kachin state, on Nov. 24, 2015. Gem scavengers or "handpickers" flock to Hpakant, Kachin state, producer of some of the world's highest quality jade, in the hope of finding lumps of the precious stone overlooked by big miners.— Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
Narcotics addiction is rife among the gem scavengers. When gems elude them, some start using heroin to help survive the harsh working conditions, often openly injecting themselves. Above, a miner holds in his hands a jade stone and a syringe to use heroin in Hpakant on Nov. 29, 2015.— Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters