Morphine is a widely abused, addictive drug that modulates immune function. Macrophages are a primary reservoir of HIV-1; therefore, they play a role in the development of this disease, as well as impact the overall course of disease progression. Galectin-1 is a member of a family of β-galactoside-binding lectins that are soluble adhesion molecules and that mediate direct cell-pathogen interactions during HIV-1 viral adhesion. Because the drug abuse epidemic and the HIV-1 epidemic are closely interrelated, we propose that increased expression of galectin-1 induced by morphine may modulate HIV-1 infection of human monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs). In this article, we show that galectin-1 gene and protein expression are potentiated by incubation with morphine. Confirming previous studies, morphine alone or galectin-1 alone enhance HIV-1 infection of MDMs. Concomitant incubation with exogenous galectin-1 and morphine potentiated HIV-1 infection of MDMs. We used a nanotechnology approach that uses gold nanorod-galectin-1 small interfering RNA complexes (nanoplexes) to inhibit gene expression for galectin-1. We found that nanoplexes silenced gene expression for galectin-1, and they reversed the effects of morphine on galectin-1 expression. Furthermore, the effects of morphine on HIV-1 infection were reduced in the presence of the nanoplex.