"Please" said a man in Dari, as he held a child over his shoulder in the Kabul street. ÅSome money for my child.Ã The childÅs eyes were dilated. Thin, malnourished and visibly high on opium, his body was too weak to move. Beggars on Kabul's streets often use their addicted children as bait to bring in more money.
Opium is prepared for smoking. The average cost for a "pill-size" fix of opium in Kabul is 20 Afghani, roughly .40 cents. According to a 2008 report issued by Afghanistan's Ministry of Narcotics and the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime, Afghanistan produced 8,200 tons of opium, 34% more than in 2006, becoming practically the exclusive supplier of the worldÅs deadliest drug, growing 93% of the global opiates market.
Shereen placed a ball of pure opium on a small piece of foil she had pulled from her cigarette pack. Balancing it in her shaky hands, a lit cigarette dangling from her lips; she heated the bottom foil until the opium rose from the burning ashes into her mouth. With deep breaths, she filled her lungs with the dark smoke. The only sound, a whimper coming from her parsed dried lips as she took another hit. Shereen lives in the high crime neighborhood of Kabul's District 2, "My husband is an addict too. He doesn't want to quit. I wish I could stop but I can't. "I don't know how to. My husband won't let me go to the clinic and if he knew anyone was here he would kill me."
The Azi family, who had suffered from opium addiction is under the minimal care of Dr. Shaesta, from Sanga Amaj Treatment Center, who sends Farida, the clinics health worker and medical nurse to their home to deliver vitamins and check on the family. ÅThe children were in the clinic with us,Ã said health care worker Farida, who began pulling out vitamin supplements and iron tablets for the family she was visiting. ÅThe family is fortunate because they did this together.Ã The curtain divided the familyÅs small two room flat from a dusty dark hall. There were no doors, running water or bathroom facilities inside the makeshift apartments that ran along the hillside of District 7, another impoverished neighborhood in Kabul.
A child who had suffered from opium addiction watches a team from Sanga Amaj Treatment Center, leave her home in District 7 in Kabul, Afghanistan after a medical visit with her opium addicted family. The team reaches out to the opium-addicted women in the community to convince them to come to the clinic for help.
Suffering from opium addiction, Soghra, 3 mos., and his mother Nafaskul, 26, came to SATC from their village in Kundish.There is no facility for addicted children and no beds for them at the center, so when they arrive they sleep with their mothers in the same bed.
A patient at the Sanga Amaj Treatment Center, Kabul, Afghanistan cries and pleads for help to Dr. Husn Banu Ghazanfar the head of Afghanistan's Ministry for Women who was visiting the clinic. Dr. Ghazanfar promised to not forget them adding that more needs to be done, as she passed out gifts, giving the women a frying pan, flashlight and a few other knick-knacks.
The Sanga Amaj Treatment Center, Social Services for Afghan Women, just blocks from Kabul University, is the only inpatient womenÅs drug treatment center in Kabul, Afghanistan. The clinic is decorated with posters touting the ills of opium.
Nasima, 23, and her children came to SATC all addicted to opium. Dr Toorpaikay Zazi, head of the center, said that since they opened in June 2007, it's been "very difficult and impossible to attend to the number of patients coming to the clinic for help." Many women believe that opium is a medicine that isn't harmful because they don't know different they give it to their children."
Nasima, 23, nurses her baby Natifa and cringes at the onslaught of questions and medical care at the Sanga Amaj Treatment Center, Social Services for Afghan Women in Kabul, Afghanistan. She tried to kill herself with mouse poison when her addiction to opium became too much for her and her children.
Sobra, 40, from Herat, who has smoked opium and heroin for four years, dances in the ward during her second stay at the Sanga Amaj Treatment Center, Kabul, Afghanistan.
A women in a burqa carried her listless baby in her arms as she begged for money on one of Kabul's main thoroughfares. Opium addiction in Afghanistan is growing at an alarming rate as many women have admitted that they can no longer bear the circumstances of their own lives - abuse, hunger, lack of education or community support.