Drug addiction among Afghan women on rise

NNI, 5th May, 2000

PESHAWAR (NNI): Drug addiction among Afghan women in Peshawar is on the rise, reports Voice of America on Thursday.

"Our Afghan sisters used to make opium as a medicine. Now some of them were dependent on it," Muhammad Qasim Zamani, in-charge of Drugs Rehabilitation Centre in Peshawar, told VoA. Zamani said that the number of women drug addicts in the Peshawar refugee camps is increasing day by day.

"We started providing treatment to the drug addicts in 1995. We have succeeded to rid nearly 75 per cent drug addicts of the menace. We are working in two camps and the problem does exist in some other camps as well."

He said that since there is no basic center for treatment of these patients, the number of the addicts in increasing day by day. "There are many causes of the people becoming drug addicts. One of reasons is lack of health facilities in Afghanistan. Moreover, the war is still regrettably going on. These problems have added to the sufferings and agonies of the Afghans."

He said that Afghans generally spend sleepless night and are compelled to take drugs for sleeping. "Similarly, the Afghans do not have access to the medicines and whenever they fall ill or sustain wounds, they take drugs as a treatment. They generally take opium and sleeping pills."

He was, however, was unable to give exact number of drug addicts in the refugee camps.

Zamani said that the Afghan women are ready for treatment and some of even come to them for treatment. "The Afghan women drugs addicts approach our female workers for the purpose. We are operating such service on voluntary basis in Badakhshan province of Afghanistan. We have also two mobile centers in Badakshan.

"The United Nations Drugs Control Programme is supporting and assisting us in our operation. Earlier, the European Union used to assist us but regrettably it has stopped aid following the imposition of sanctions against Afghanistan by the United Nations."

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