A rising opium and heroin epidemic in Afghanistan has begun taking a toll on the country’s women, tens of thousands of whom are believed to be suffering from addiction inside their homes and outside of the public eye.

26 Jun 2017

In recent years, efforts at eradicating opium poppies and substituting them with less dangerous crops have largely been abandoned in Afghanistan as foreign funding flags and attacks by the Taliban resurge, The Washington Post reports. From 2010 to 2015, U.N. experts estimate that number of opium users in Afghanistan has tripled — addiction in the country, the U.N. noted, was effectively keeping pace with “the same hyperbolic growth of opium production.” Most opium users in Afghanistan, the U.N. report claimed, had begun taking the drug as “a kind of self-medication against the hardships of life.”

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“It is a silent tsunami, and if it is not controlled, in another few years it will be a disaster,” warned Shaista Hakim, a drug rehabilitation specialist working at the newly opened National Center for the Treatment of Addiction for Women and Children.

“Every woman here has problems like mountains, layer on top of layer,” she added. “They are so vulnerable, and their addiction involves the entire family, so we have to treat the entire family.”

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