Number of drug addicts reaches 130,000 in Kandahar
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): The number of people dependent on drugs is increasing with the passage of time in southern Kandahar province amid insufficient facilities for their treatment.
Last year it was said the number of individuals addicted to drugs was around 100,000 but now their population has grown to 130,000.
Counternarcotics Director Gul Mohammad Shukran told Pajhwok Afghan News that unfortunately the number of drug addicts was increasing with each passing day in Kandahar.
He said the number of such people had reached 130,000, with women constituting 10 percent of them, citing a survey by the provincial Public Health Department this year.
He said main factors behind the increasing number of addicts were poverty, joblessness, illiteracy and easy access to narcotics.
Shukran said smoking hashish (chars) had recently become common among the youth and it was considered no stigma.
“Recently both educated and uneducated and most cases students have been seen smoking chars and they consider it nothing bad.”
The official said he believed the youth constituted majority of drug addicts and most of the young addicts first developed the addiction and then indulged in selling the drugs themselves.
The counternarcotics director said the youth not under keen police observation, were a good source of drug peddling for mafia groups.
Shukran said the situation seemed to be dangerous for the country’s future and emergency measures were needed on national level to pull the youth out of the quagmire.
He said there were four rehabilitation centres for drug addicts in Kandahar and the facilities were not enough keeping in view the number of addicts.
One of the centres located in Dand district has been established by the police headquarters, where the addicts are subjected to involuntary treatment.
The second rehab centre is in Spin Boldak town and the remaining two in Kandahar City being operated under the names of Malalai and Wadan, according to Shukran.
He said if the facilities were compared with the population of the addicts, the turn of each addict came after 10 years.
The official said Kandahar needed a standard drug addict rehabilitation centre to be operational on regional zone.
Kandahar Public Health Department officials acknowledge the number of addicts is far more than the facilities for their treatment.
Public Health Director Dr. Abdul Qayum Pukhla said they had recommended the establishment of a huge and well-equipped hospital for treatment of drug addicts to the central government and the proposal had been endorsed.
He said the establishment of the proposed hospital would help intensify and widen the treatment of addicts.
Kandahar police spokesman Zia Durrani said they had not only established a rehabilitation centre in Dand district but had also prevented smuggling of drugs into Kandahar City and their sale.
He said the anti-drug police at the police headquarters arrested dozens of drugs sellers every week and used to torch the seizures.
Local officials said the number of addicts would continue to grow until poverty was alleviated and awareness about the hazards of drug use was created.
They believed the 130,000 drug addicts among Kandahar’s 2.5 million population tantamount to a humanitarian disaster.
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