Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, December 14th, 2018

We are not Just the Producers but the Users, as well!


We are not Just the Producers but the Users, as well!

Afghanistan for quiet some times has been known as the leading producer of drugs. It has been considered as the provider of most of the raw material used in heroin and other kinds of drugs in international drug market. Thus, the production and trafficking of drug in Afghanistan is linked with international influences on the health of million of people who use drugs. But apart from international influence, the production and easy and cheap availability of drugs throughout the country have been influencing many unfortunate people in the country who choose to use this menace.

According to a survey completed by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) and the government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, more than one million people in Afghanistan are addicted to drugs. This includes the people between 15 and 64 years of age group. This number is really alarming; keeping in view the total number of people living in the country.

It makes almost 8% of the total population, and it, at the same time, is double the international average. The same survey has disclosed that the number of habitual opium users has increased for almost 53%. A survey conducted in 2005 showed the number of opium users to be 150,000, which has now increased to 230,000. The number of heroin users has increased considerably as well. It has had a leap of 140%, from 50,000 to 120,000 users. Such threatening trends can really prove fatal for the society as a whole.

Afghanistan has been one of the countries that have been severely influenced by wars, conflicts and chaos. Almost three decades of continuous wars have made a considerable number of people to believe pessimistically about the socio-political scenario. The dominant social psychology has been predominantly occupied by the belief that the circumstances are never going to move towards improvement. Further, the intense poverty and the lack of available opportunities to solve the problems have pushed the social psychology towards a tendency to escape the reality. One of the basic reasons of the use of drugs is the same sort of tendency. A considerable number of addicts use drugs in order to forget what is going on in their surroundings.

The drugs serve for them as an opportunity to be free of all problems and make their tensions disappear and entertain their minds with temporal pleasure. By repeating the same action several times they are addicted to the drugs because drugs sustain a memory of experienced pleasures in human mind after they are used. Therefore, the same memory keeps on urging the addict to continue using drug. The effects would not be threatening enough if the story ended here, but in fact, the drugs have negative impacts on psychological and physical health.

They keep on effecting human nervous system and ultimately overall human body. They may at the same time be the reason of many social problems. Like, the addicts, in order to quench the thirst of their addiction have to have money. Compelled tremendously by their addiction they may even commit crimes like, stealing, robbing and even killing. Apart from that, they are not able to perform their social duties actively, as most of the times they remain passive overwhelmingly finding the ways to get what they are addict to. And they are always the cause of the domestic tussles.

In addition, the easy availability of the drugs in the country is one of the most dominating reasons of the spread of this menace. They have become so common, that people do not feel much awkward about them and they do not have to struggle much in order to find a dose or two. They are easily available on roadsides, and one can get them without having to spend much. One of the most threatening phenomena is the perspective with which drug use is perceived in our society. The drug use is not condemned the way it should be.

The elders and the other people who are socially related to the drug addicts do not seem much bothered about their use of drugs. According to the reports, 50% of the drug users in north and south of the country give drugs to their own children, thus endangering the coming generation to a threatening extent. There are incidents wherein parents use drugs as medicine for curing certain diseases; thus, addicting their children from the very beginning of their lives. Another factor is the failure of government in launching a comprehensive ban on drug production, trafficking and use.

Though, promises are being made by the anti-narcotics force for curbing the situation, the practical measures are non-existent. The suppliers of drugs are thousand in numbers and can easily do their jobs, without being much hampered by the police. It is really unfortunate to know that there are a considerable number of addicts in police itself. Therefore, it can be concluded that the preventive measures are simply negligible.

Another important measure that can be taken by health department is the treatment of the addicts. But, there seems to be no attention paid for this particular purpose. Only 10% of the addicts are provided with such treatment, while actually 90% of the addicts agree to go through treatment. According to the mentioned survey a total of 700,000 addicts do not have access to any sort of treatment. Arrangements for treatment play a vital role if this menace has to be countered and fought against. Throughout the world many such treatment centers have extracted thousand of people out of this quagmire.
Though difficult, this menace can be controlled by efforts made in right direction. In order to counter drug use the measures should address three basic aspects that aggravate the situation. First, the production and trafficking of the drug should be minimized as much as possible so as to halt the unlimited availability of cheap drugs. Second, the supply networks should be discovered and they should be broken down. The major culprits should be even punished by law enforcing agencies.

For these first two measures it is important that the anti-narcotics forces should be made functional and active. Third, the treatment for the addicts should be made easily available. Construction of modern and well-equipped treatment centers and hospitals are very helpful in this regard. At the end the mass awareness regarding the severe effects of the drug use should be launched so that the people start considering it an evil deed, not a part of their routine.

Dilawar Sherzai is the permanent writer of the Daily outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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