Tajikistan Struggles With Rising Drug Use

The Tajik government is pursuing a programme to deter young people from using drugs, but the number of addicts is rising.

Tajikistan Struggles With Rising Drug Use

The Tajik government is pursuing a programme to deter young people from using drugs, but the number of addicts is rising.

Saturday, 14 February, 2009
Khalil Qaimzoda interviewed Alisher Tashrifov, head of drug use prevention at Tajikistan’s Drug Control Agency, who said there were around 8,600 registered drug users as of January 1, over 400 more than there were a year earlier. Almost half of them are in the capital Dushanbe.



The rising use of drugs is directly attributable to Tajikistan’s southern neighbour Afghanistan, the world’s major exporter of heroin. Like other transit routes, Tajikistan is increasingly targeted by dealers selling to the local population.



Tashrifov says people are drawn into drug abuse because of unemployment and the lack of leisure facilities.



Muslim clerics says the solution is harsher penalties for dealers and users.



Treatment at drug clinics is relatively rare, and not always a success.



Mansur, a young man interviewed in the report, moved from marijuana to heroin, stole from his parents to fund his habit, and spent time in jail. He sought treatment at a clinic, but resumed taking heroin when he returned to his own social milieu.
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