jeudi 13 octobre 2011

Afghan Junkies

We are accustomed to consider Afghanistan the most problematic place in the world in terms of drug production. And this opinion can hardly be disputed. In fact, the production of raw opium (the basis of heroin) is monopolized by this country.
Since the Taliban came to power, its production grew rapidly. And only in 1999-2001, having achieved concessions from the international community, the Taliban banned poppy cultivation, reducing the amount of planting by 80% in just one year.
However, with the beginning of the “anti-terrorist operation” in October of 2001 and the fall of the Taliban that followed it later, this country has again taken the first place in heroin production. During a year, it increased by 1400%! And today, every fifth (!) Afghan is a drug addict.
Well, you have probably guessed that today’s post will be all about Afghan heroin and Afghan junkies…

There is a myth that the U.S. doesn’t fight against drugs in Afghanistan, but on the contrary, takes great efforts to increase heroin production. Supporters of this idea believe that the Americans do it deliberately to poison Russian people.
However, after careful consideration, it becomes pretty clear that it’s not quite true. The opening of new transit routes and increasing of the efficiency of the Russian Drug Control Service redirected a significant part of the flow of heroin to… the States. So the Americans are trapped. To destroy crops means pushing farmers into the ranks of the Taliban. To leave crops means to poison their own citizens.
According to the UN, in 2005-2009, the number of heroin addicts increased by 140%, and this is only the official figures. According to local residents, 5 out of 25 million Afghan people are addicted.
One of the most popular places for drug addicts’ gatherings is called “under the bridge”.
This place is located under the bridge across the Kabul. Its riverbed has already been used as a dump for a very long time.
Hundreds of drug addicts use heroin among the heaps of rotting and stinking garbage.
One can hardly imagine the more disgusting and repulsive place than this bridge located somewhere on the outskirts of the city. A terrible stench, decomposing wastes, black like oil water…
Though the width of the river is no more than a meter, a sane man will hardly dare to check its depth – this water seems to be able to corrode not only your leg or arm, but a steel rod.
It’s very hard to breathe here. This is partly because of stinking fumes and burning heaps of rubbish, but mainly because of the smoke produced by the so-called “wicks” used for heating heroin (the Afghan know-how).
From time to time, you step on someone’s limbs. Something that seemed a shapeless sack of garbage turns out to be a man, or rather what’s left of him. A covered with yellow skin skull, meaningless hollow eyes, unnaturally slow movements – it’s a zombie! Hollywood directors have apparently been to similar places, as the likeness is incredible.
About 200 people constantly use drugs under this bridge. This place is always crowded at any time of the day. Some addicts have been living here for months.
The “floor” is completely covered with wastes.
Two guys sharing heroin.
The city sewage makes the situation even better.
Even local people close their noses with handkerchiefs. The acrid smell makes your eyes water. It’s hard to imagine how one can possibly live here for months!
Judging by the clothes, this guy hasn’t left this place since winter.
A dose is often shared between friends under such kerchiefs.
Some aesthetes take heroin intravenously, but these are rare exceptions – to get syringes is a big problem.
One more nice feature of this place is a huge number of flies. Look, how gracefully they fly around addicts.
People became drug addicts in lots of different ways.
Some of them are former refugees who tried to hide themselves from the civil war in the camps of Pakistan and Iran and who were hooked on drugs there.
Other ones are the mujahideen who often fought on opposing sides. Recently, they are joined by the people crippled in the current war. These are both soldiers and those who lost all that they had.
And the last group includes the Afghans who went to work to neighboring countries and became there drug addicts. Such people return home only for one reason – to find themselves under the infamous bridge across the Kabul River.
Though actually, every city has the places of mass gatherings of drug addicts. In Kabul, it is the bridge, in Mazar-i-Sharif, it is the city dump.
These caves are too inhabited by addicts.
Only sometimes they leave them in order to steal something or beg for money for the next dose.
A gram of heroin costs about 100 Afghanis. This is about $ 2 or the same as the price of a jar of cold Red Bull. By means of petty theft and begging, addicts manage to collect enough money for a dose. According to one not yet completely degraded junkie, mutual aid is well developed among them. They will never leave a friend in trouble.
Each hole is occupied by a group of drug addicts.
The land around is strewn with cigarette butts and syringes.
Some of them come from neighboring states, where the use of drugs would lead to the death penalty.
Most addicts prefer smoking heroin. They roll a paper into a wick…

Light the wick.

And inhale the vapor of an evaporating potion through a straw.


It’s interesting that Afghan children don’t like drug addicts and throw stones at them.

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