Wed, Oct

Anti-drug fight requires global help: Minister


poppy-cultivationThe Minister of Counternarcotic on Wednesday said it was concerned about the increasing population of drug addicts in the country, calling for assistance from the departments concerned and international community to deal with the situation.

Last month, a UN report said the number of addicts in Afghanistan had risen from 1.5 million in 2012 to three million in 2014.

Counternarcotics Minister Salamat Azimi told lower house of parliament members that the number of addicts had risen due to unemployment, poverty and easy access to drugs. She called addiction the second biggest threat to Afghans’ lives after security threats, saying the government had the political will to continue efforts at countering narcotics.

Azimi said the rehabilitation of addicts had increased to 11 percent with the availability of 108 rehab centres across the country. These centres, she said, were capable to treat 39,000 addicts in one year. But she said if the international community and other relevant organs did not support the joint fight on drugs, it was difficult for the Counternarcotics Ministry alone to fight the menace.

“The Public Health Ministry should facilitate rehabilitation of addicts, the Ministry of Labour should provide employment and the Interior Ministry should bust smugglers and drug sellers,” she said, adding her ministry was only a policy-making organ. The counter-narcotics minister would again appear next Wednesday before the house for a question and answer session.