The Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) refurbished Camp Phoenix, an ex-NATO base, in order to assist drug addicts’ rehabilitation into ordinary life and clean up the sanctuaries used by the users in Kabul city.
The Ministry of Public Health in collaboration with the Ministries of Counter Narcotics, Economy, Interior, and Ministry of Public Works and Social Affairs started the campaign of gathering and shifting drug addicts from different parts of Kabul to the recently established Avicenna National Centre for Housing, Treatment and Rehabilitation of Drug Addicts.
Dr. Ahmad Yar Sultani Director of the centre told Sade-e-Azadi Magazine that there are 3.5 million addicts across Afghanistan. "Establishing a rehabilitation centre and a hospital for treatment of the addicts was an essential need," he said. "Camp Phoenix, a closed military installation is now put to good use as a safe shelter and a hospital for 1500 addicts."
Dr. Sultani is happy the campaign is running successfully. "Since the beginning of this programme we have rounded up approximately 600 addicts and housed them into the centre," said the Doctor. "Besides the accommodation and daily meals, they have access to health care facilities and entertainment."
The dire consequence of poppy cultivation and drug trafficking is a social challenge that needs to be routed out of the country.
Dr. Sultani appealed to all Afghans to participate in eliminating drugs and its use in our country and said, "Our people should assist the respective ministries in this campaign."
Treatment of addicts is a hard task but not impossible.
Dr Wahidullah Koshan, the centre's deputy, said that besides using drugs, most of the addicts have other sicknesses too. "After a 45 - 90-day treatment, rehabilitation, and training in a vocational skill the patients will be released," he said. "In coordination with the Ministry of Public Works and Social Affairs, they will be directed to find jobs."
One of the patients in the centre told of his 4-year experience using drugs that cost him his job. "I want to recover soon and go back to my job," he said.
Muhammad Amin is another patient under treatment who is thankful to the GIRoA for providing them with an opportunity to come out of the miserable and dark world. "I used drugs for many long years. I had no health, no life and no hope," he said. "I feel that my health is improving, and I see many other patients like me in the centre with a big hope for life."