Global perspective Human stories

With $1 million from Japan, UN project to cut demand for drugs in Afghanistan

With $1 million from Japan, UN project to cut demand for drugs in Afghanistan

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today announced plans to cut drug use in Afghanistan under a project receiving financial backing from the Government of Japan.

With Tokyo's $1 million contribution, UNODC and its partners will target three of the country's four main poppy cultivation areas - Badakhshan, Nangarhar and Kandahar - where drug abuse is on the rise.

As more and more Afghans use opium and heroin amid the almost total economic and social collapse caused by over two decades of war, UNODC says there are not enough knowledgeable staff to deal with drug abuse problems.

The project will aim to redress this problem by training personnel in healthcare, social work, education and community development to provide drug treatment and rehabilitation services.

School teachers, mullahs, police and community leaders will also be taught to implement drug prevention activities with groups at risk of abuse, UNODC said.

The UN office blamed the rise in drug abuse on Afghanistan's prolonged deprivation and suffering, along with the breakdown of traditional social controls and the almost unlimited availability of opiates within the country. War-wounded Afghans also became addicted because opium, morphine and heroin were widely used as painkillers.