92pc of cured but jobless addicts return to drugs
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Afghan government would contact five Indian pharmaceutical companies to purchase high quality medicines from them and would struggle to collect and cure drug addicts in a specific building in Kabul, the Meshrano Jirga was told on Tuesday.
Counternarcotics Minister Salamat Azimi and Deputy Public Health Minister Najia Tariq testified before the Senate after being summoned to provide information to lawmakers about the increasing number of drug addicts and poppy cultivation in the country.
Azimi told the upper house they had collected 1000 addicts in Kabul and 10,000 in other provinces, but many more remained uncollected in Kabul due to a lack of space.
She asked the government to specify Camp Qargha, formerly Camp Phoenix, a NATO military installation now handed over to the Presidential Palace, for treatment of the addicts because it had enough space.
If the government could not allocate the camp for treatment of the addicts, it should find another similar facility for curing addicts, she said.
In addition to treatment, the government should prevent cultivation, production and processing of drugs in the country, she said.
She also said the government should introduce alternative crops for poppy farmers and facilitate them in marketing their produce and creating jobs for the people.
The production of drugs has declined by 50 percent in the country and the cultivation of poppy reduced by 19 percent, she said, adding more than 500 drug dealers have been arrested over the past six months in different parts of Kabul.
Najia informed 92 percent of treated addicts had returned to the addiction due to lack of work opportunities for them, lawlessness, easy access to drugs, ongoing drug smuggling and poppy cultivation, poverty and low economy.
Currently, there are a total 115 clinics for treatment of addicts across the country having the capacity to annually treat 43,000 addicts, she said, adding they have been working to construct five more such facilities to accommodate 750 more people.
“The Presidential Palace has assigned the Ministry of Public Health to identify five Indian companies of high quality to purchase medicines needed the ministry and the private sector,” she said of low quality medicines in the country.
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