Nuristan to have drug rehabilitation hospital
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): More than 1,000 people are addicted to drugs in two districts alone in eastern Nuristan province and efforts underway to establish a rehabilitation centre for them, officials said on Monday.
No survey has so far been conducted to know the exact number of addicts in Nuristan, but officials estimate their population at more than 1,000 in Barg-i-Matal and Kamdesh districts alone.
The governor’s spokesman, Musa Shami, told Pajhwok Afghan News the number of drug addicts could be higher in the two towns because a lot of individuals used hashish and opium.
“We have no proper information about the number of addicts because no survey has been conducted in this regard.”
“After protracted efforts by the governor to construct a 20-bed rehabilitation cenre for drug addicts in Nuristan, we have finally received a green signal from Kabul,” he added.
Despite cold climate in the province, Shami admitted poppy crop was being cultivated in some districts, including Want-Waigel.
Dr. Mohammad Ismail, the provincial public health director, said the number of addicts was higher in districts lying close to northeastern Badakhshan province because they easily received drugs being smuggled from the province.
“The majority of addicts in Nuristan use heroin and hashish. That’s why the public health ministry has agreed to building the 20-bed hospital here,” he said.
He said there was a 16-bed rehabilitation centre for drug addicts in Nangarhar and 20-bed each in Kunar and Laghman.
“The Kamdesh district is close to Kunar province, where we can send the addicts but it is problematic. It will be better if we have our own such hospital,” Ismail concluded.
Dr. Asadullah Fazli, the public health director for neighboring Kunar province, said more than 700 addicts had been rehabilitated in their hospital over the last three years, with some patients coming from Nuristan. “We receive a lot of patients from Nuristan,” he said.
Nuristan residents also voiced their concerns about the rising number of addicts in Kamdesh and Barg-i-Matal districts.
A resident, Ajmal Nuristani, said: “We have addicts all over the province, but they have a great strength in the two districts.” “The majority of our youth are unemployed, that is why they turn to drugs,” he added.
Omar Farooq Qanuni, a provincial council member, urged the government to take effective measures for rehabilitating drug addicts in Nuristan.
Earlier, Nangarhar health officials had said at least 1,300 women were addicted to drugs in the province. There are families who give drugs to their ailing children and women also use it during illnesses.
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