Life is composed of many binary couplets: light and dark, rich and poor and most predominately in our world, good and evil. The drug situation in Shan state and how it is perceived in such contrast by the outside world is no exception. The people making the drugs are viewed as bad, and those trying to circumvent the drug manufacturing are good. A place that grows, manufactures and transports narcotics must be, to many people, a dark place where illicit dealings, shady characters and evil intentions dominate. Yet the current drug situation in Shan state is more complicated and demands closer inspection. It is naive to look at the issue through such a high contrast lens. There is much grey area in the drug trade in Burma. A symphony of economic drives, political forces and societal hardships account for much of the misrepresentation of drugs in the Shan state. This paper hopes to explore causes of the drug trade in Shan State within the context of its political unrest. My ambition in this report is to enlighten those curious about the drug trade in Burma. I hope to dispel the current global perception of Shan State’s drug trade as a venture purely for profit. There are many factors, both regional and global, that contribute to the drug trade. The most important factor however, is the ethnic conflict and how it correlates to the dark economy.