Opium Addiction On Rise for Afghan Moms, Kids

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2009 11:03 AM CDT
Afghan children at work in a factory in Kabul, Afghanistan. Drug workers believe hundreds of thousands of the country's children are addicted to opium.   (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
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(Newser) – Opium is taking a heavy toll on the women and children of Afghanistan, but it's addiction, not production, that's entering the spotlight. Opium is cheaper than a meal, staves off hunger, and brings the family some happiness, one addicted mother tells CBS News as she prepares opium tea for her four children, aged from 4 to 13.

Drug workers estimate there are at least two million addicts—a quarter of them women and children—in the country, which produces and exports almost all of the world's opium. "For every addicted mother, there are on average four addicted children," warns the head of a Kabul treatment center. "If something isn't done today, the country will lose a generation to drugs."  (Read more addiction stories.)