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14 Mar 2018

Over 1.1 million Afghan women, children hooked on to drugs

Over 3 million people in Afghanistan are battling drug addiction. Of these 1 million are women and 0.1 million children under 10, reported Tolo News.

However, these numbers are massively under-reported as the extent of drug addiction in the conflict-torn nation, the world's leading opium and heroin producer, remains poorly documented.

Here, we look at the crisis, the helplessness and the need to escape.

In context

Afghan women, children deep in drug addiction

The business

Afghan-produced opiates valued at $3.02 billion in 2016

As per the UN, Afghan opium production rose by 87% in 2017 compared to 2016, because of rapid expansion of poppy farmlands under the Taliban, which reaps the profits.

The business has spiraled so uncontrollably that even America failed to check it despite spending $8.6bn since 2001.

From $1.56bn in 2015, the value of Afghan opium doubled in 2016 to $3.02bn, claims the UN.

The addiction

Women, children pick up drug use from male family members

The massive opium production cannot not leave behind a trail of addiction.

Women and children are the worst affected, who often pick up the habit from the men in the house.

Six years ago, Reuters reported that Badam Bagh, Afghanistan's largest women prison outside of Kabul, had begun to fill up, courtesy the rising prevalence of drug use among Afghan women.

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Little hope

Too big a problem, too little done

The crisis is so humongous that drug seizures are inefficient, and medical rehabilitation unsatisfactory.

In the last 10 years, only 0.45m kilos of opium has been confiscated, which is less than 10% of the opium produced in just 2016 alone (4.8m kilos), according to the UN.

As for healthcare, there only 20 drug rehabilitation centres across Afghanistan for women and children.

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