Saturday, September 15, 2007

PHOTO: Feeding his addiction: Khalil in his 'drug den' -- an old bullet-pocked, shrapnel-scarred, Soviet era building in Kabul -- a regular haunt for several drug addicts. (Photo by Anuj Chopra)

by Anuj Chopra

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Mohammad’s motivation to check into a drug rehab clinic was a very personal tragedy. Just last month, this 60-year-old saw one of his eight children, addicted for years to heroin, painfully wither away in front of his eyes. “He smoked nig ht and day,” he says, grimacing. “I want to live. I want my other children to live.”Along with Agha, 17, his eldest son, also an addict, Mohammad made a perilous four-day road trip to Kabul from his obscure village in Helmand province. They are both fortunate to be admitted in the Nejat clinic, the only drug rehab clinic in Kabul. It offers a residential treatment programme to addicts who spend weeks here going through the painful process of withdrawal. But despite being funded by international donors, the number of patients who seek admission here far outstrips the treatment facilities here. With only 10 beds and few in-house specialists, they routinely turn away patients. There are over a 1,000 addicts on the waiting list. Afghanistan produces 92 per cent of the world’s opium, making it the world’s largest poppy growing nation. The booming poppy cultivation is leaving the Afghan society ravaged by the malaise of drug addiction.

1 comment:

ashish said...

One of the best stroy i ever read..
Good work Mr.Anuj Chopra.