Friday, November 24, 2006

War, opium trade make children addicts

More than 2,000 children in the Afghan city of Herat are addicted to opium, local doctors say. There are thousands of children made orphans and homeless by the war, and many of them end up working in the opium fields or as drug couriers. Some parents use opium paste to quiet children.
Dr Abdul Shukur Shukur, of the Shahamat Centre, a non-government institution that helps combat drug abuse, told IWPR that he had seen a 20 per cent rise in juvenile addiction over last year.

“We have children between the ages of six and 16 at our centre,” he said.

There are many reasons why children start using drugs, said Dr Shukur, including the lack of parental supervision, the large number of children orphaned by war, the return of refugees from Iran, and Afghanistan’s booming illicit narcotics industry, which means drugs are readily available.
Read details here.

Added Dec. 7: A fairly lame story on this topic, carefully skirting political issues, ran on the AP wire Dec. 6, here.

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