The Life of Drug Addicts Under the Shadow of Smoke and Fire

When we walk in the streets and roads of Herat city, we can see that people addicted to drugs are sitting in groups and smoking all kinds of drugs.

Marjan Wafa
28 Jan 2023
The Life of Drug Addicts Under the Shadow of Smoke and Fire

I go to these people to hear their daily life in their own words, I start a conversation with one of these people, and he throws away his half-burnt cigarette and introduces himself as Reza Mohammad. Then he says with distress that he has not seen his family for five years.

‘We crossed the border, I haven’t seen my family for four or five years. I’ve been smoking drugs and living on the road for eight years.’

Reza Mohammad lights another cigarette and says that the problems of addicts are many and they spend cold winter nights on the side of the road.

He adds that during these cold nights, drug-addicted people sleep in gutters on the side of the road without blankets and warm clothes. He wants the government to address the situation of drug addicts.
I ask him where he gets the drug money, and he replies:
‘We spend about 100 to 150 Afghanis. I earn money for my materials by collecting garbage.’
I leave Reza and his cigarette smoke and this time I go to one of the women addicted to drugs.
I meet a middle-aged woman and a young girl who are sitting on the side of the road and smoking drugs.
She says her name is Bahara and complains about the men who harass her and her daughter on cold winter days and nights. Bahara says that her husband made her suffer and he himself died.
‘Seven years ago, my husband was an addict. He had gone to work in Iran. When he came, I saw that he was smoking drugs, and he made me addicted to them. At first, I smoke weed, while I smoke heroin.

I also have a twelve-year-old daughter who is also an addict and we smoke heroin together.’
Bahara asks the government officials to take care of them.
However, officials in the Anti-Narcotics Commission say that this department is collecting drug addicts.
Mawlawi Ehsanullah Rouhani, director of the Herat Narcotics Commission, says that the process of collecting addicts from Herat city with the cooperation of the municipality and the Department of Labor and Social Affairs started in a few days.

Currently, there are many addicts in Herat and the main reason for that is Herat’s border with Iran. Currently, we have 1,300 people under treatment and we plan to provide a place for more than ten thousand addicts. We collect 200 or 300 drug addicts from the city every day.
Regarding the consequences of drug addicts on the roads of the city for other members of society, I went to Dr. Ibrahim Samadi, one of the sociologists. He believes that the presence of drug addicts in society can have negative effects on children and healthy people.

According to him, the pulse of a society beats by the people of that society, but when these people are not healthy, the society is affected and cannot progress.

‘When we see unhealthy people in society, it affects our psyche. People addicted to drugs can also affect their psyche of people. The money these people spend on drugs is also an economic loss for society.’
Based on the statistics provided by the previous government, this expert on social issues reminds us that there were 70,000 people sleeping on cartons and on streets in Herat and every addict consumes drugs three times a day.
According to his calculations, every year in Herat alone, millions of Afghanis are spent on drugs.
It should be noted that Herat is one of the biggest cities in the country, and according to the officials, more than 75 thousand addicts spend their days and nights on the streets, and 5 thousand of them are women and children.

Translated by: Shir Ali Jafari

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