Security officials involved in drug peddling: Feroz
KABUL (Pajhwok): Public Health Minister Ferozuddin Feroz on Monday said the number of individuals addicted to drugs would continue to increase until security personnel shunned peddling the drugs and prevented their smuggling.
Feroz was summoned to the Wolesi Jirga or lower house of parliament along with Deputy Interior Minister for Counternarcotics Lt. Gen. Baz Mohammad Ahmadi to explain factors behind the increasing the number of drug addicts in Kabul.
Feroz said they had cured 80 percent of addicts in rehabilitation centres, but 60 percent of the rehabilitated persons returned to drugs due to easy access to narcotics, joblessness and lack of awareness about the dangers of the drugs.
Over the past three months, they cured 2650 addicts in Kabul, he said, adding nearly 45,000 drug addicts were treated each year across the country in 115 rehabilitation centres.
“Until cultivation, smuggling and production of narcotics are not prevented, the establishment of rehabilitation centres with thousands of beds could not resolve the issue,” he said.
The public health minister said the Ministry of Finance had approved less than half of the budget his minister had proposed for treatment of addicts this fiscal year. He said there was a great need for cooperation among related organs and the international community in this regard.
According to government statistics, currently there are nearly three million drug addicts in the country with 50 percent of them being cured at rehabilitation centres.
“Until drugs are not prevented from being smuggled and security officials do not quit distribution of drugs and the Afghan government and the international community do not work jointly, the drug addiction problem cannot be mitigated,” he said.
For his part, Ahmadi said the Ministry of Interior (MoI) had arrested 790 drug dealers, including 134 smugglers, over the past three months and had shifted more than 8000 addicts to rehabilitation centres.
He denied the involvement of police in drug distribution, but said they had appointed a delegation to investigate reports about their involvement in entering drugs to prisons.
He said leaders of drug traffickers lived in militants-controlled areas or outside of the country and they could not be captured.
Responding to a query regarding trafficking of alcoholic beverages though Hamid Karzai International Airport, he said this responsibility had been handed over to Global Security Company and if the counternarcotics department took this responsibility, even a bottle of banned beverages would not be imported.
The department has 2500 policemen, but they are engaged in war against terrorism in addition to counternarcotics tasks, he said.
This year, he said, the destruction of poppy crops increased by 40 percent, poppy cultivation dropped by 19 percent and opium production by 48 percent.
He said 224,000 hectares of land was cultivated with poppy in 2014 against 183,000 hectares this year.
Last year 6400 tonnes of opium was produced compared to 3300 tonnes this year as they destroyed 2692 hectares of poppy land last year and 3760 hectares of land this year.
He said the banned plant was being cultivated in 132 districts of 20 provinces.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.