Did anyone else hear the NPR story this morning about how heroin and opium addiction are destroying Afghan families? Sadly, even mothers and their young children are being lured into the grip of these drugs. An excerpt from the report:
“When I smoke this, I don’t experience any unhappiness. My nerves calm down. If I don’t do this I go crazy,” says Karima, an addict who is the mother of six children. She shares her home with her addicted parents and other relatives in a poor hillside neighborhood in Kabul.
Her young children suffer ill effects of being bathed by opium and heroin smoke since birth. They do not attend school. The oldest is Fahima. At 12, she is the size of a child half her age. She has big brown eyes and bald spots on her head from malnutrition.
Fahima is the one her mother sends out to buy drugs to stoke her habit. “My mom nags me to go get hashish and opium so she can be happy. If she doesn’t use it, she gets angry and hits us all,” Fahima says.
The soaring rates of drug abuse are driven in part by Afghanistan’s widespread unemployment and social upheaval under the Taliban and the U.S.-led war, begun in 2001. Another factor is the flood of returning Afghan refugees from Iran, many of whom became heroin addicts there.
And fueling it all is an overabundance of opium and heroin in Afghanistan, the world’s largest cultivator of poppies in the world.
The addicts say that heroin is a cheap way to forget their miserable existence.
My wife and I were both quiet after listening to this report. We were particulary saddened by the reporter’s final description of the 12-year-old Fahima.
Please join me in praying for the situation in Afghanistan, especially for the innocent lives that are being devastated by the side effects of war and oppression.