Increasing drug addicts affects social life in Balkh
MAZA-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): The increasing population of drug addicts has negatively affected the social life in northern Balkh province.
The office on drug addicts puts the number of individuals addicted to drugs at more than 200,000 and blames the government for doing nothing in this regard.
Balkh residents say the increasing number of addicts has resulted in increased incidents of domestic violence, disturbed social life and group robberies.
The residents of Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital, describe roaming of addicts in groups on the streets a big problem.
Khat-i-Naw civil society group head Qadir Mesbah, who has conducted surveys regarding the number and situation of drug addicts, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the population of addicts started increasing from 2009.
“Currently the number of drug addicts in Balkh province exceeds 200,000,” he said, adding the majority of these individuals lived in Mazar-i-Sharif.
He said the addicts roamed together in the city and thus disturbing the social life.
After Mazar-i-Sharif, a large number of addicts live in Nehr-i-Seraj, Dawlatabad, Char Kand, Chamtal and Kaldar districts, according to Mesbah.
Sharing his activities and information about drug addicts, he said in some districts addicts with stable mental condition used to stage big robberies.
He said they had received reports from Chamtal, Dawlatabd and Nehr-i-Shahi districts about robberies involving addicts laced with knives.
He said minor robberies had increased in Mazar-i-Sharif due to the increase in population of drug addicts.
Security officials, though concerned about the increasing number of drug addicts, said they discharged their responsibility in this regard.
Police spokesman Sher Jan Durrani said: “There is no doubt that the number of addicts has increased in Mazar-i-Sharif and the increase has negatively affected people’s lives, but we fulfill our responsibility about the addicts.”
He said police used to remove the addicts from streets and not allow them to roam together in areas where they could threaten people.
About the involvement of addicts in robberies, the police spokesman said they had received no complaints in this regard in Mazar-i-Sharif and from districts.
But residents of the provincial capital said the increased number of addicts posed a threat to social life and accused the government of inaction.
Sadiqullah, a resident who lives in Muhib Square area, said dozens of addicts could be seen daily in his area and the highway park.
“I daily accompany my children to school on the same road, the addicts are seen in groups in a bad situation and their presence has a bad impact on people.”
The resident said stories of robberies ranging from car mirror theft to stealing food from shops and small items from homes were common about the addicts.
Khat-i-Naw official Mesbah said the increasing number of drug addicts could be controlled only through their medical rehabilitation.
Chief doctor at the 100-bed drug addicts rehabilitation hospital in Balkh, Dr. Mohammad Daud Ratib, said several public and private treatment centres for drug addicts were available in the province.
He said besides the 100-bed hospital, a 70-bed clinic named Shahamat, a 50-bed Nijab hospital and other medical centres were operational providing treatment to addicts in the province.
Similarly, a 20-bed hospital in Shortapa district and a 30-bed Haqju hospital are also providing treatment to the addicts.
Dr. Ratib acknowledged the treatment facilities for drug addicts were extremely insufficient keeping in view their population, but efforts were underway to resolve the problem.
He said talks with the central authority were ongoing on the establishment of a 500-bed rehabilitation centre for the addicts.
He said if the proposed 500-bed hospital exclusively for the drug addicts was not established, problems created by the addicts in social life would persist.
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