The addiction to opium continues to rise in Afghanistan as the country struggles to help their population find wellness. In an article published in USA Today details the lives of men, women and children who are engrossed in their addiction to opium. The article details the story of a woman who is 35 years old and addicted to opium. The woman said that her addiction began because opium was the only drug that helped cure her body of aches and pains that she suffers from daily. Unfortunately for the woman, her daughter is also addicted to the opiate because the mother used while she was pregnant. The country is still branded as the world’s largest supplier of heroin which is fueling the population with the drug more than ever before.
USA Today reports that the United States government has withdrawn a $7 billion taxpayer funded effort to combat the opiate problem in Afghanistan. The country’s largest problem continues to be poppy fields. Farmers maintain the plant despite the United States’ valiant efforts to persuade them to grow legitimate crops. Unfortunately, the crop is far too profitable for a farmer to secede from cultivating it.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the farming of opium has risen 7 percent in 2014. The report released last year states that opium exceeds 553,000 acres in the Afghan country. They estimate that the drug trade is “at about $4 billion, ‘with a quarter of that being earned by opium farmers and the rest going to district officials, warlords and drug traffickers.’”
The United States Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction believes that 5 percent of the Afghan population is addicted to opium.
The opium addiction epidemic is also a result of a lack of education. There are many in the country who believe that the narcotic can be used to treat physical ailments such as headaches and cancer. It is also used as a way to quiet young children. Unfortunately, this ill informed population continues to turn to a drug that is easily accessible even in the most remote areas of the country.
Another woman detailed her family’s struggle with opium. The woman said that her family was led to believe that opium would help treat her daughter’s cancer. Her daughter died just one month into her heroin usage. Today the mother now struggles with opium addiction and is seeking treatment in a hospital to detox from the drug.
Currently the country is working on educating the public about the dangers of using opium. At present, the country does not have enough addiction treatment centers to service the population that is in such dire need. Mohammed Dauod, a public health provincial coordinator for the Afghan Ministry of Public Health in the Balkh district said, “We are working on increasing the knowledge of our people about the harm of drug production and use. People in Afghanistan have no knowledge about the dangers of drug addiction. We are trying our best to provide facilities to drug addicts for their treatment.”
Through education, the hope is that more Afghan people will not use opium so that this generation and generations to come are protected from the drug’s harmful effects.
New Directions for Women is a treatment facility located in California that offers help to women of all ages, pregnant women in any trimester, and women with children. Founded in 1977, our courageous and visionary founders asked for the help of Newport Beach Junior League members to fulfill their vision of a tranquil home-like facility that would treat women with dignity and respect. Our caring admissions counselors are available 24/7 to take your call and answer any questions you may have on getting help. Reach us by phone at 800-93-WOMEN. We can help. Stay in the loop with New Directions for Women by connecting with us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.