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    One million Afghan drug users worrying: Minister

    KABUL (PAN): The Ministry of Public Health on Thursday expressed concern over the one million drug dependents across the country, which is also becoming a serious security threat.

    “Afghanistan has one of the world’s highest numbers of drug addicts with one million addicts in the country,” deputy minister of counternarcotics Mohammad Ibrahim Azhar said at the inauguration of a rehabilitation centre in Kabul

    “We can only cure six percent of the drug addicts in the country until end of the current year, however the capacity would be increased to 30 percent in the next five years,” he added.

    The rise in drug addiction is linked to insecurity, he said, whenever there is insecurity and violence in the country, the social problems could not be controlled.

    The 40-beb rehabilitation centre in Deh Bori locality is equipped with vocational training facilities -- such as tailoring, embroidery and carpentry, said Public Health Minister Dr. Soraya Dali at the same ceremony.

    Currently, there are 95 such centres that can accommodate some 2,300 drug addicts across the country.

    This year a budget amounting to $2.7 million was allocated for the rehabilitation of drug users and the entire amount had been spent, she added.

    Country director of the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime Jean-Luc Lemahieu, said the number of drug users had increased in Kabul compared to 2009.

    “We should accelerate our activities with the support of the public health and counter narcotics ministries to tackle the issue,” he added.