Seeds of Pain: Afghan drug addiction
One gram of heroin costs four to ten US dollars. The family smokes at least three times a day, depending on how much cash they have.
Unemployed and uneducated, both parents and their children beg on the streets for money. “Some days we have rice and tea,” the wife says.
“But some days we eat nothing. I feed my two daughters opium to keep them quiet when they cry of hunger. It makes them sleep.”
The presence of an addicted member in the household increases the chances of addiction for the rest of the family. It has been found that, in Afghanistan, the husband's addiction is the nexus of women's and their children's addiction.
Frame by Lizette Potgieter
“I can't handle it that we are all sick,” the husband says. “The rehab centres are far from our house and we can't afford to go to the hospital.”
He continues to describe heroin as a bastard habit. “Our bodies itch and ache when we don't get it on time. When I can't smoke, I can't control myself and I beat my wife and children.”
Relatives are apparently concerned about the welfare of the boy, because his father has been considering putting his son out to work, so that there's more money for heroin. “They want to take our son away from us but I refuse,” the husband says.
This Afghani dad regrets the state his family is in. “I wish God would take my life to free me from my drug habit. Our lives are finished.
Heroin is destroying us.”
Both heroin and opium are illicit drugs in most countries. It is highly addictive and withdrawal produces drug craving, restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps, trembling and other symptoms. It is common for heroin and opium addicted individuals who have had received treatment to resume their drug consumption shortly after rehabilitation.