Population of drug addicts in Paktika on the increase
SHARAN (Pajhwok): The number of drug addicts including women is on the rise in southern Paktika province, an official said.
Sher Ahmad Faizi, head of the Unity Council for Argon district, voiced grave concern at the increasing population of addicts in the town.
In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, he said: “A number of women are also addicted to drugs. It is the responsibility of the government to take decisive steps for controlling the situation.”
Without giving exact figures, he said most residents of the district were reliant on agriculture. The government should implement development projects to boost people’s financial position.
Amir Gul Baz, a tribal elder from Paktika, confirmed the number of drug addicts had increased in the province.
Mobin Faqirzada, a provincial council member, said though poppy cultivation in Paktika had been brought down to zero, yet the number of addicts was on the increase there.
“Our culture doesn’t allow the use of drugs, but the war in Afghanistan has caused some people including women to take refuge in addiction,” he commented.
Abdul Jalil, head of the Youth Council of Khairkot district, claimed narcotics were sold openly in Paktika markets.
“But police have detainedno one so far in connection with the illegal business,” he alleged, asking the government to pay attention to the issue.
Darza Khan, currently admitted to a rehab facility in Argon, said: “I have been taking opium for the past four years, I feel very bad right now.”
He had to spend up to 800 afghanis daily on purchasing drugs. “My family expelled me from home due to addiction,” he added.
Khan estimated there were around 1,000 addicts only in Argon district. And the number has constantly been on the increase.
An addict from Sarobi district, Noor Mohammad, enjoyed a happy life before addiction. However, now he is faced with a host of problems.
“I am now hospitalised here. Previously, I ran a shop in the district bazaar and enjoyed a happy life.” Mohammad brought his family financial woes and her wife started begging.
A woman addict, who wished not to be named, admitted she was also using narcotics for the past several years.
“My husband sold alcohol, hashish and other narcotics; he was also an addict to and stored drugs at home. That was why my children and I have also slipped into the curse,” she remarked.
At present, she has no money to purchase drugs, whose non-availabilityhas caused her pains and other problems.
“My children also take drugs; we are seen as a bad family in our village. Even relatives don’t ask about our situation,” she said. The woman recently started undergoing treatment.
Dr. Hayatullah, head of the rehabilitation center, said hundreds of addicts including women were under treatment at his hospital.
He cited joblessness, Paktika’slong and porous border with Pakistan, insecurity and drug smuggling as the main causes of addiction among youth.
GovernorElyas Wahdatconfirmed the growing number of drug addicts, saying decisive efforts were ongoing to find a solution to the problem.
He promised poppy cultivation and drug commerce in Paktika would be prevented with the support of locals.
The Ministry of Counter-Narcotics says nearly two million people are addicted to drugs across the country. Many of the drug addicts are Afghan refugees who returned from Iran.
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