Misery in Bloom –   

November 5, 2019 – Nasima, a mother of seven, said one son left home while she was high. She says that he began using heroin because it was in the house. “My 15-year-old son is roaming the streets. I don’t know where he is,” she fretted. She breastfed her youngest son as she spoke. The center appeared to offer respite for the children, at least. Behind heavy steel doors, boys and girls played in a small courtyard, shrieking and manically running. In one room, they worked at sewing machines, making outfits of red pants and purple tops. 

Some of the children pushed their mothers into rehab, like Farida. She was only a kid when she became addicted. At age 7 she was married and her husband convinced her to try opium cigarettes. She thinks he wanted her to get addicted as revenge against her family, who disapproved of him. Farida and her husband have five children, and she says her husband married off their two daughters to the highest bidders, for a total of about $6,000. They were 11 and 12. That was about two years ago.

“He sold them for money,” she said, sitting on a narrow bed, looking out into the Kabul sunshine. “He used it for drugs.” One of her sons bought her here, and she hopes to salvage what she can of her family. Her eldest son, an addict, was thrown in jail after he was caught buying drugs for her. “I live with regret every single second in my heart,” she said. Herion is not the only drug now flooding Afghanistan. “In the beginning, people were only addicted to opium,” said Hakeem, the supervisor. “There is tabletka,” a compound drug students use to stay awake, she said. “Now there is sheesha,” she said, referring to meth, which she said had been particularly devastating. 

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