Afghan Children Dying from Opium Addiction | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Afghan Children Dying from Opium Addiction

Impoverished mothers administer the opiates to their children to pacify them while they work.

Image: 

Poppy crops are the source of opium.
Photo via

By Valerie Tejeda

06/05/12

| Share

Child deaths are tragically common in Afghanistan, where one in ten children doesn't reach the age of five, usually due to preventable illnesses such as respiratory infections. But in at least one impoverished, mainly Turkmen area, Kunduz, children are reportedly dying from using drugs that are given to them by their own mothers as a means of pacifying them. "I fed my daughter a lot of drugs at one time. It killed her," says Zarghoona, a woman who lives in the village and has been giving her children opium since they were born. "We didn't have the money to take her to the hospital." Opioid use is particularly common in the Qali a Zal district, where the majority of the women are carpet-weavers. Because of the strenuous nature of their jobs, and the long hours, the women resort to drugs to quiet their kids down. Out of a population of 800,000, Kunduz province has over 30,000 drug addicts—more than half come from the Qali a Zal district, and 40% of them are children. "Unlike other districts, the most anguishing point is that the women are addicted," says Abdul Basir Murshid, director of counternarcotics for the Afghan government in Kunduz. Drug abuse receives little notice in Afghanistan, and there is little help available for addicts. "When a baby is born, on the very first day they grease their navel with fluid of opium, so that the baby does not cry and sleeps well," says Dr. Rahmatuliah, who heads the local government council here. "After a few months, they give it to them orally. I have told many of these people not to do this, but they say, 'We have raised all our babies like this.'" Since 2005, the country has seen a 53% rise in the number of opium abusers; the country produces 90% of the world’s opium.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
Normies React to the 12 Steps

"I think admitting to having a problem in general is the right first step, but to admit powerlessness is unhealthy. .. I think admitting powerlessness is more harmful because it doesn't help. Admitting that you want and need help is more useful after admittance."

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu
 
 
 
 

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery
 
 
 
 

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center
 
 
 
 

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 

Reflections
 
 
 
 

This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea
 
 
 
 

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu
 
 
 
 

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab
 
 
 
 
 

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv