Situation of Addicts in Afghanistan


Most of addicts spend their nights and days at roads and streets of cities where tens of them die as the winter comes in. Every week, the Kabul Municipality personnel discover around ten dead bodies mostly related to addicts and bury them, according the recent remarks made by the relevant authorities. Meanwhile, they are concerned that there will be a rise in number as weather gets colder.       

In addition to the on-going war and other countless calamities in Afghanistan, cultivation, smuggle and use of drugs is the trend that Afghan people are irritated from. Following the upturn in production of drugs, the number of addicts has also on rise day by day and, according to the data of various domestic and international institutions, the total of addicts in Afghanistan has been reached to hundreds of thousands.  

Number of addicts in Afghanistan and world, situation of addicts in Afghanistan, reasons behind their addiction and impacts of existence of addicts in society are discussed here.      



Using drugs is counted as a big problem in the entire globe where millions of people are addicted with drugs. Approximately, there are 255 million people in the world who use drugs, according to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). If we presume the human-being population to be 6 billion people; so we can consider that 4.25 per cent of the entire global population is addicted with using drugs.  

Afghanistan had a total population of 29.7 million people in 2017, according to Central Statistics Organization (CSO) of Afghanistan. Hence, the information of anti-drug institutions in Afghanistan indicates that more than three million Afghans are addicted with drugs which make almost ten per cent of the total Afghan population. Among them, 800 thousand are women, 100 thousands are children and 500 thousand are those who lost their social personality and desperately walking at the streets and roads of Kabul. The rest of the addicts are less exposed and, thus, spent their times with their families far from the streets and roads. 


Condition of Addicts

From one hand, the cultivation and use of drugs in Afghanistan have defamed the name and prestige of Afghanistan; and from other hand, having a 3-million population of addicts have encountered the country and the people with a great human crisis.   

In the meantime, Kabul is turned into a huge center of addicts where its parks, roads, streets and markets are full of such people. Most of the mentioned stratum is croaked in cold winter weather. Moreover, they are get-together at every spot and use drugs in public places.   

The Afghan government, however, makes efforts to treat these people and have built treatment centers for the purpose: but the capacity of these centers is very low in compare to the number of addicted people and thus, cannot achieve the aimed objective.

The Afghan Ministry of Public health says that, besides existence of tens of relevant private hospitals, the government has established 170 treatment centers where hundreds of addicts are being treated every year; however, 70 per cent of those treated in the centers restart using drugs.


Reasons behind Addiction

Main reasons behind high addiction in Afghanistan are as follow:

War and Contention of War: Protraction of decades-long war in Afghanistan has facilitated the ground for cultivation and production of opium which has made the country to turn into a grand point of opium cultivation and production. Thus, the number of addicts has increased besides upsurge in opium cultivation and production.

 Poverty and Unemployment: They are another factor behind rise in number of drug addicts in Afghanistan. Forty per cent of Afghan population live under the poverty line and more than two million workforce is unemployed in the country, according to the World Bank. Hence, the trend has obligated a remarkable number of youth to use drugs.

Migration: Migration to other countries, specifically the neighboring countries, is one more important factor behind rise in number of those who use drugs. For example, Iran is a country where most Afghan migrants have become addicted with drugs in.

Easy Access to Drugs: Access to drugs is a very easy affair in Afghanistan thanks to the corruption and weak governance. People can have very easy access to drugs everywhere in Afghanistan. The easy access and lack of strict restrictions and monitoring on purchase and sell of drugs have intentionally paved the way for use of drugs.


Negative impacts of Addicts on Community

Drug addicts have had the following negative impacts on Afghan society: 

First: Rise in number of drug addicts has resulted in rise of thefts and other criminal incidents. Addicts need money to buy drugs and, for doing so, they focus on thefts and crimes. For instance, people have been irritated with thefts conducted by addicts in cities, according to media reports. The Kabul police chief says that, despite establishing a special unit to fight against thieves (mainly addicted) in Kabul, addicts still take out the windows and doors of parks or enter the houses and conduct thefts. Furthermore, they loot people at nights and take their money and goods in order to sell them and be able to purchase drugs.

Second: Upsurge in number of drug addicts have also caused in the added dirtiness of city as well. Kabul city has a handful off entertainments parks that are dominated by addicts as well as the roadsides.

Third: Free movement of drug addicts in cities and streets have played a role in fascinating others to the vicious deed. Youth are mainly get addicted with drugs due to companionship with these kind of people.


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