Drug addiction is on the increase in Kabul. PACT Radio investigated some of the reasons for this, along with the views of ordinary people.
According to the United Nations there are more than one million drug addicts across Afghanistan. PACT Radio reporters sought to investigate this and found that the majority of these addicts are young men, mostly living in big cities like Kabul. The investigation, led by reporter Shah Hamid also found that there is growing concern amongst Afghans regarding this issue.
“These drug addicts are living in very miserable conditions and can be seen in almost every street in Kabul. The majority of them are young, often seen lying in the rubbish, in graveyards, on roads or under bridges – you can see them everywhere.” In Kabul alone this winter, dozens of drug addicts died in the cold, unable to look after themselves in the harsh weather.
“Cases differ for each individual, but some of the main reasons for this rise in addiction include economic woe and unemployment, domestic problems and low literacy rates” says Shah Hamid. PACT’s investigation also found that many of the drug addicts had returned from places like Iran, where they were previously living as refugees and had since been forced to leave.
Despite the establishment of health centres in many parts of the country, the number of addicts is still on the increase. The citizens of Kabul have every reason to be worried, as the young men are often cut off from society, unable to look after their families or partake in the reconstruction of their own country.
Muhammad Nadir, a resident of Kabul has witnessed the slow deaths of some of these addicts. He states “Parents should be brave enough to tolerate economic hardship to some extent and not send their children abroad, where they are vulnerable. Children who work without proper monitoring or supervision are often a lot more susceptible to drug addiction.”
“You will see the drug addicts in streets or bazars and the dry bed of Pul-e-Mahmood Khan. They use heroin which completely shatters their lives and can often kill them. The addicts are in such despondent conditions and nobody treats them as human beings. Sometimes, they even turn to stealing to fuel their habit. They themselves are ruining their lives.”
Combating the menace of drugs demands relentless effort. Muhammad Nadir believes that “Influential people in the media or Ulema should fulfil their responsibilities to help combat the problem. Farmers should not grow poppy’s and for the sake of the country should look to alternative crops. The government should help with easing peoples economic problems, but fighting drugs should not just be for the government to tackle. Our whole society has a role to play!”[:]