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Afghanistan, the drug addiction capital

Afghanistan produces 90% of all opiate drugs in the world, but until recently was not a major consumer. Now, out of a population of 35 million, more than a million are addicted to drugs – proportionately the highest figure in the world.

Right in the heart of Kabul, on the stony banks of the Kabul River, drug addicts gather to buy and use heroin. It’s a place of misery and degradation.

In broad daylight about a dozen men and teenage boys sit huddled in pairs smoking and injecting. Among them are some educated people – a doctor, an engineer and an interpreter.

Tariq Sulaiman, from Najat, a local addiction charity, comes here regularly to try to persuade addicts to get treatment.

“We are already losing our children to suicide attacks, rocket and bomb attacks,” he says. “But now addiction is another sort of terrorism which is killing our countrymen.”

At the age of 18, Jawid, originally from Badakhshan in the north of Afghanistan, has already been hooked on heroin for 10 years. His uncle introduced him to drugs when he was a small child, to make him work harder on the land.

“I hate my life. Everyone hates me. I should have been at school at this age, but I am a junkie,” he says.

His father is dead. His disabled mother worries about her son constantly. All she wants from life is for him to get clean, but she begs on the streets to pay for his daily dose to prevent him stealing.

“I always tell Jawid if I die, he will end up sleeping under the bridge with other addicts,” she says.

This is the fate of the most hardcore addicts, whose fires can be seen at night. Police regularly beat and disperse them, and sometimes throw them in the river.

Read full story on BBC News

Category: World News |

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Last updated December 2, 2016 at 1:59 PM
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