Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, January 17th, 2019

Addiction on the Rise

Just like insecurity and unemployment, Afghanistan has been haunted by the menace of drugs as well and the authorities have not been able to take tangible measures against it. Afghanistan has not only been on the top in poppy cultivation but it also tops the ranks in its utilization. Therefore, many people can be found in different parts of the country who have been suffering from drug addiction and their futures seem to be completely dark. The hopes of their rehabilitation are very meager as the authorities fail to provide any facilities to save them.
The issues of poppy cultivation and drug smuggling are not taken seriously by the Afghan authorities. In fact, the international help and support have also not focused much to curb the situation. Unfortunately, the poppy cultivation and its smuggling are linked with the networks of organized crime in the country that further extends to international mafia and drug dealing and they have their strong backers in the international drug market and national authorities who appear to be guardians of the nation. But one of the most alarming and unfortunate facts is that they have their links with the terrorist networks in the country. The growing insurgency and expanding networks of terrorism suggest that the terrorists have strong financial support and currently there are many reports that disclose the fact that the terrorist networks receive most of their funding from the same source. This scenario is really very much threatening. This is going to ruin the lives of the people of Afghanistan in various ways and unfortunately no break in it seems very much likely – at least not in near future as the statistics show that there has been and there will be increase in the opium production in the country if not handled properly.
Indifference towards the above mentioned issue has led to the addiction of the Afghan people themselves and the statistics clearly show that the number of addicts are rising in different parts of the country. A current estimate by Counter-Narcotics Department shows that the number of drug addicts, especially women, is increasing with each passing day in Parwan province; but unfortunately, rehabilitation facilities remain limited. The Department estimates that there are around 3,890 male addicts and around 200 female addicts. The situation seems to be really grave and other parts of the country are not very much different. Even the capital Kabul seems to be a haven of the drug addicts; while the measures to curb the situation are non-existent.
The government so as to control the use of drugs must pursue a two-fold preventive strategy. First, the measures must be carried out to discourage its spread and use; means the objective should be to stop producing new addicts. Strict legal measures must be carried out to discourage the smuggling of drugs and its business. The convenient availability of different types of drugs makes many addicts each year.
The second phase of the preventive campaign should involve the treatment of the addicts and availability of pleasant environment to them so that they should avoid using drugs and return to positive living. In this regard the establishment of the medical and rehabilitation centers can play a key role. Well-developed and properly managed hospitals and rehabilitation centers for the addicts can really bring back the addicts from the alleys of the darkness to the horizons of the illumination. It is hapless to mention that the number of such centers is insufficient in Afghanistan.
There are only few such centers in the urban areas while most of the people, who are addicted to drugs, do not have access to such opportunities. It should also be mentioned that the ones that are present are not equipped with latest technology, medicine and techniques. The patients after such treatment, instead of becoming a positive member of society, are further pushed towards addiction and crimes.
Their confidence on the social setup and their expectations from their fellow beings are all shattered and they find refuge in the cozy arms of drugs, where they are not haunted by troubles, worries and pains. So, the important thing is that the centers that are established to treat the victims of drugs addiction must not only be equipped with latest technology and techniques, but also well-trained and affectionate doctors and caretakers.   
The suggested measures can really play a role in discouraging the use of drugs; nevertheless, they are short-term. For a considerable reduction in the use of this menace, it is vital that better living conditions must be provided to the people as most of the people become addicted because of their poor socio-economic circumstance. In addition, the production and smuggling of the drugs should be banned as much as possible through a trust-worthy and strong law and order system. No compromise should be tolerated in this regard. Even the most powerful should be brought to justice and the mechanism of law and order must not be hijacked the terrorist networks and criminal syndicates. Shortly, it is important that the rule of law should be maintained throughout the country.
Moreover, awareness campaigns must be launched in different parts of country that can spread awareness about the ferocity of this hazard and that has the capacity to generate intense hatred against it and inculcate within the minds of our people the dignity of life and its importance.