Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Drug Abuse – A Persistent Evil

June 26 was observed as International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) set this day through the resolution 42/112 in December 1987. The basic objective behind observing the day was to reinforce action and collaboration to attain the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.
This year the theme of the day remained the same as last year – Listen First: Listening to the children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe, which is an initiative to increase support for prevention of drug use that is based on science and is thus an effective investment in the well-being of children and youth, their families and their communities.
In April last year the UN General Assembly in its Special Session on drugs marked a vital breakthrough in achieving the goals set in the policy document of 2009: "Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem", which defined action to be taken by Member States as well as goals to be achieved by 2019. It is important to see that the countries follow these goals earnestly and achieve them on time as getting late on the issue would have severe consequences for the future generations.
While discussing drug abuse, it is important to note that Afghanistan is also a country that is largely influenced both by drug abuse and its trafficking. It is really important that the country should make efforts to change the lives of those who are influenced by this menace and at the same time divert attention to important sectors like health, human rights and sustainable development.
However, it would not be an easy fight for Afghanistan as the country has an established trend of drug addiction and its trafficking. There are many people, mostly youngsters, addicted to various types of drugs and their number is snowballing with each passing day. One of the most threatening fact is that many children and women are also in the list of addicted and they do not know any way of coming out this quagmire. Actually, they use it as medicine to resist against severely cold weather and also as tranquilizers to fight against different sorts of diseases. 
It is no more a secret that the poppy cultivation and its trafficking in Afghanistan are interconnected to the national and international networks of organized crime with the supporters in the international drug market and national authorities who should otherwise be the protectors of the nation. The most disastrous facts is that they have their associations with the terrorist networks in the country. The rising insurgence and growing webs of terrorism depict clearly that terrorists have get immense financial support from drug trafficking. This should alarm the whole nation as it would shatter the lives of the people.
It would not be difficult to control the situation if it was limited only to farmers but the fact is that the farmers are not alone to benefit from the rising prices and the rise in production; rather farmers take a negligible part of it while most of the income goes to the networks that manage its filthy business. And all the informed individuals know that the terrorist networks have a lion’s share in such income. Thus it implies that with the growth in the production of opium, there will be considerable increase in insurgency from the terrorist networks that are already in the process of gaining strength. Moreover, it has also been observed that the cultivations mostly take place in the areas where Taliban seem to have more control. It is believed that most of the cultivation is concentrated in southern Afghan provinces, and heartland of the Taliban-led insurgency, where the government does not seem to have much control.
In short, the menace of drug abuse and trafficking is influencing the country in various ways. At one instance, it is making drugs available to the common mases, who are, mostly out of ignorance, becoming addict to it and standing responsible for generating various social problems. At the other instance, it is proving to be the fuel for insurgency as it is bound to benefit the terrorist networks in the country that largely depend on such sources of income after losing support from elsewhere. Government authorities, in this connection, have to get very much serious and try to take tangible measures to make sure that the production is reduced to a considerable extent. Destroying the crops is one of the most practical steps at the present scenario and can to a very great extent discourage the poppy cultivation but it has certain complexities with itself. For the long-lasting solution it is preferable that the government must try to facilitate the farmers and landowners the opportunity of growing alternate crops; try to control it trafficking and treat the addicted in the best possible manner so that they are able to rejoin positive social life. In addition, corruption, in this regard, should never be accepted, as it has already become a major problem for the country.