An intensive survey of 40 opium addicts in Laos showed that opium smoking, like narcotic usage in general, can be powerfully addicting. As is true of alcoholism in the United States, the families of the addicts appeared to have inordinately high rates of addiction. The sample showed an unusually high proportion of women addicts and addicts from rural areas, but a low rate of criminality. In addition, addiction in Laos was not regularly associated with the severe social incapacity reported among narcotic addicts elsewhere. Unlike narcotic addiction in the United States and Korea, opium addiction in Laos may be an endemic rather than epidemic phenomenon.