Afghanistan is known to produce around 90 percent of the world’s raw opium. The addiction to the drug is widespread and has been known to affect women and even young children. However, there is a unique drug rehab center located in the town of Jalalabad, which is seeking to address the problem and help everyone to break free of their addiction to opium. The town itself is fairly conservative. Traditional Muslims view drug addiction as being forbidden by Islamic law. Yet even so, it seems that the Welfare Association for the Development of Afghanistan has been supported by the community and even manages to operate with the blessing of the Taliban in the area.
It has been said that around 50 percent of the Taliban may be addicted to drugs such as hashish and opium. It is clear that help needs to be provided, but until now, it was unclear of who would be willing to provide that help. An administrator at the drug rehab center shared that he once treated a Taliban solder at the men’s treatment center. He left the center completely sober and was able to make a pilgrimage to Mecca eventually. Later on, the man called and thanked the rehab center for helping him and said that he was only able to make the trip to Mecca because of the help that he received.
WADAN operates programs and drug centers throughout the 34 provinces in Afghanistan. Some of the centers are designated just for women and children, while others are designated just for men. The women and children’s center is the town is funded by the State Department’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. According to the department’s website, it funds six residential drug treatment centers for women in Afghanistan as well. Officials with the agency say that they don’t have any knowledge of treating the Taliban at the centers that they fund in the town because they are only responsible for funding the centers for women and children.
The facility coordinator say that around 40 to 50 addicts apply to the women and children’s drug rehab program each mother. There is only space to admit 20 addicts at a time for the program, which lasts 45 days. However, the wait is worth it for those who are involved. Based on information from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, during 2010, more than 1 million Afghans out for 35 million are addicted to drugs. Only 10 percent of those addict seek treatment or receive it. While Afghanistan has been known for producing drugs for decades, it seems that drug consumption has still continued to rise, even with unemployment at 40 percent. The most distressing addicts of drugs at the facilities are children, who often become addicted to drugs such as opium because their mothers give them the drugs for medicinal purposes.