In 1988, HRH the Princess Mother expressed her desire to educate people on the background of opium in the Golden Triangle and elsewhere in the world. While the Doi Tung Development Project and other Sustainable Alternative Livelihood Development projects helped solve the problems of drug supply, HRH recognized that the fight against drugs also needs to address drug demand. The Hall of Opium was created to help reduce demand through education.
While intended for people of all ages and all nationalities, the target audience of the Hall of Opium is teens and young adults, those most susceptible to the lure of illegal drugs, to show them how opium addiction became a world-wide problem, and how drug abuse affects individuals, their families, neighborhoods, and even their country.
The exhibition was designed to be fun and captivating, entertaining while providing information, what we call edutainment. Covering an area of 5,600 square meters, the exhibition in the Hall of Opium is the result of almost 10 years of research. Here visitors learn about the 5,000-year history of opium: how it was a drug to treat illnesses, how its use spread throughout the world, how imperialist expansion used opium in the economic colonization and control of China, and how it eventually came to dominate in the Golden Triangle and now in Afghanistan. Visitors also learn about current issues of addiction and illegal drugs, efforts to control drugs, and the impacts of drug abuse and addiction.