Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

The cause and consequences of women addiction in Afghanistan


The cause and consequences of women  addiction in Afghanistan

Nowadays, drug addiction is one of the most important problems which challenge many of the world countries, especially Afghanistan. In recent years, this ominous phenomenon has unprecedentedly expanded in Afghanistan so that all layers of society have been indirectly affected while millions of people, including children, women and men have directly suffered from the issues. In Kabul city, hundreds of addicted people get together under bridge of Pooli-Sokhta , Qutta Sangi and other parts of the city. During the night, early morning and late evening they get out for thievery and housebreaking so as to earn a living and also collect money to satisfy their addictions.
In the past, drug addiction was mostly limited to men who spent years as laborers or war refugees in neighboring countries, but in recent years it involved thousands of women and children in the country. In general, addition is a very dangerous phenomenon for every individuals and society, but it will be more dangerous when women are engaged in addictions. As women have a very specific role in family and society, they can seriously endanger the health and dynamics of society and they can rapidly pave the way for devastation of a society. Given the increasing figures and statistics of women addiction, it became one of the ambiguous and dangerous phenomena in Afghanistan. This article is going to discuss about factors and consequences of women addiction in Afghanistan.
According to the simplest definition, addiction can be described as accustomed to any addictive substance while become extremely dependent to it. Thus, addiction is considered as serious sickness that has various biological, psychological and sociological factors and also is known as deviant behavior in societies.According to social learning theories, deviation is not inherited; it is learned through communication and extraction with small groups of friends, families and social environment. 
Today, addiction continues to plague women in all societies, including Afghanistan and its neighboring countries. For example, Iran is one of neighboring countries which has many cultural similarities with Afghanistan and has a lot of addicted women. The most important factors of women addiction in Iran is said to be curiosity, enjoyment, family problems, friends’ pressure, drug availability, emotional deficiency, pain relief or treatment, lack of family control, unemployment, low pay jobs, poverty, death of family members and love failure.
In Afghanistan, according to Afghan officials, illiteracy, unemployment, psychological pressure and traveling are of the main factors of women addiction. In addition, lack of access to health centers and a positive view to opium as medicine, child sexual abuse, rape (individual and group), all kinds of domestic violence, poverty and deprivation, dual attitude towards family children (girl and boy) which is very common in Afghanistan, HIV or AIDS caused by prostitution, easy access to drugs, encouragement or being forced by addicted family members or friends are called some of the main factors of female addiction in Afghanistan. It said that some of husbands deliberately make their wives become addicted for several purposes such as freely use of drugs at home, prevents from separation or divorce. Thus, they intentionally addict their wives so as to pave the way for sex works and through which gain their drug and other expenses.
Although there are no accurate figures for men and women addiction in Afghanistan, it is said that about 700, 000 to 800, 000 women are drug addicts in Afghanistan. Undoubtedly, this number is increasing and will have serious consequences in the future. The consequences of women’s addiction can be discussed in various ways. For example, it causes physical and mental illnesses, reduce marital opportunity and cause family rejection or conflicts. it also reduce maternal role in the family, leave children without supervision , increase probability of family members addition, getting AIDS and Hepatitis and overall cause addictive generation. Morally, it causes prostitution, theft and so on. Begging and colluding with drug traffickers can also be considered as a consequence of the addiction of women whose effects are widely visible in today’s Afghan society.
The main outcome and risk of addiction for women is not limited to aforementioned issues but also increase many types of violence, prostitution and even the disintegration of families. Psychologically, if we assume that these 800,000 women addicts are sisters, daughters and mothers of many, how many Afghans will suffer from these issues? Certainly, a large percentage of the Afghan people are directly and indirectly affected by this destructive and devastating phenomenon. Therefore, the addiction of women as a social problem requires serious and comprehensive attention of the people and the government; otherwise, we must wait for a major catastrophe.
We must note that Afghan women are suffering from several weaknesses which directly or indirectly made them vulnerable against any threats, including addiction phenomena. According to study about 87% of Afghan women are illiterate, less than 5% of women have access to higher education and they still face major barriers to accessing employment. It is said that close to 90% of Afghan women and girls suffer from at least one form of abuse, including physical or psychological violence, and 70-80% faces forced marriage, many before the age of 16. Many have little influence over the issues which affect their day-to-day lives the most, like marriage and family planning, and a lack of knowledge contributes to the fact that 1 in 50 newborn babies die in the first month after birth.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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