About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Opium Use Starts in the Cardle for Some Afghan People

by Medindia Content Team on November 22, 2007 at 1:35 PM
Font : A-A+

Opium Use Starts in the Cardle for Some Afghan People

In a grubby courtyard outside a simple two-room house in northern Afghanistan, six women are working on a single large carpet.

There are four or five dirty sheep hanging around, as well as a cow and a barking dog.

Advertisement

There are a lot of children too: some of the older ones are helping with the arduous task of knotting the carpet; four of the small ones, aged between one month and one year, are sleeping peacefully nearby -- with the help of a little opium.

"It's usual here to give opium to small children so they do not disturb us during our work," says 28-year-old Nazira, one of the weavers who have all pulled their burqas over their faces because unknown men are visiting.
Advertisement

The women work all day making the carpets, which for most families in this area -- the Dawlat Abad district of Balkh province, near the border with Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan -- are the main source of income.

And they need to have their hands free of child-caring duties and distractions to complete the task which in this case will likely take around four months and earn the group about 600 dollars.

Drug use introduced in the cradle sometimes continues into later life with northern Afghanistan home to around 51,000 opium users -- about a third of the total number of users in the country, according to a UN survey in 2005.

Afghanistan is the world's top producer of opium, which is also used to produce heroin, and while fewer than four percent of the population is believed to use drugs or alcohol, according to the UN survey, experts have warned this could rise.

The husband of one of the weavers says he was first given opium when he was just months old by his mother, who also made carpets.

"While I was baby, my mother gave me opium," says Aka Murat, 40.

"By the time I was around two years old, the eating of opium had become a habit. Now if I don't take opium twice a day, I feel pain in my body and become like a crazy man."

Murat, who has a dress shop, says he spends around half his total earnings on opium, for himself and his family.

"We spend around 300 afghanis (six dollars) every day on buying opium," he says.

-- Child care a simple solution to life-long drug addiction --

Nazira says that simply by providing child care facilities at workplaces, the authorities could go a long way towards solving the problem of cradle-to-grave opium addiction.

There are some day care centres in the Balkh capital, Mazar-i-Sharif, but none in Dawlat Abad district, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) away.

"If we had a kindergarten, we wouldn't need to give our children opium and spend our money on buying opium," she says. "And I know after 10 years nobody would use opium in here."

Officials say they are aware of the need for child care facilities and that they are doing something about it.

"During the coming five years we plan to build four kindergartens in four districts and one of them is Dawlat Abad," says the head of the provincial Labour and Social Affairs Department, Fawzia Hamidi.

"We know there are problems and I hope by building this school we will help."

Government attempts to tackle the country's drug problem, with the help of Britain and the US, have failed: this year Afghanistan produced 8,200 tons of opium, 34 percent more than last year, a UN survey released in August said.

But Balkh appears to be bucking that trend, with the province this year added to a list of 13 considered opium-free, the same survey found.

The UN says the price of opium has dropped nationwide because of the increased production, but in Balkh buying or finding opium has become more difficult over the past two years, residents say.

And prices have increased from around 2,500 afghanis (50 dollars) a kilogramme (half a pound) to between three and four thousand, an indication of its scarcity in the area.

"Two years ago, everyone grew opium on their land and the price was very cheap. Anyone could find it," says Shayemardan Qol, 46, a farmer who once produced opium just for his family's use.

"Now the price has increased and we have to look hard to find it," he said.

Source: AFP
SRM/P
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Cochlear Implants may Consequently Drive Hearing Loss
E-cigarettes Use Linked to Erectile Dysfunction
Memory Loss - Can it be Recovered?
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Dental Anesthesia Local Anesthesia Anaesthesia - History Cannabis Drug Abuse Anaesthesia - History and Origins Drug Detox 

Recommended Reading
Drug Abuse
The use of Drugs for reasons other than its prescribed recommendation, is known as Drug abuse or ......
Opiates
Opiates...
Afghan Opium Production Soaring Out of Control
The annual UN report on illegal drugs has said that opium production in Afghanistan is soaring out ....
Anaesthesia - History
valuable information regarding the recent developments in the field of anesthesia ...
Anaesthesia - History and Origins
Anaesthesia has come a long way since the days of chloroform. It is much more safe today than it wa...
Cannabis
Cannabis has a long history of medicinal, recreational, and industrial use and comes from a bushy pl...
Dental Anesthesia
The advent of anesthesia may be regarded as a cornerstone in the development of modern dentistry....
Drug Detox
Drug detoxification (or drug detox) is a process that helps drug addicts to give up drugs with less ...
Local Anesthesia
Local anesthesia is a type of anesthesia generally used to block pain sensation only in a specific a...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use