4-Year-Olds On Opium

In America we complain that parents keep their kids quiet (and obese) with TV and junk food. That strategy looks remarkably good compared to Afghanistan where overtaxed parents keep their kids quiet (and skinny) with opium. For real — Arwa Damon reports for CNN:

Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan — In a far flung corner of northern Afghanistan, Aziza reaches into the dark wooden cupboard, rummages around, and pulls out a small lump of something wrapped in plastic.

She unwraps it, breaking off a small chunk as if it were chocolate, and feeds it to four-year-old son, Omaidullah. It’s his breakfast — a lump of pure opium.

“If I don’t give him opium he doesn’t sleep,” she says. “And he doesn’t let me work.”

Aziza comes from a poor family of carpet weavers in Balkh province. She has no education, no idea of the health risks involved or that opium is addictive.

“We give the children opium whenever they get sick as well,” she says, crouching over her loom.

With no real medical care in these parts and the high cost of medicine, all the families out here know is opium.

It’s a cycle of addiction passed on through generations.

The adults take opium to work longer hours and ease their pain.

Aziza’s elderly mother-in-law, Rozigul, rolls a small ball in her fingers and pops it into her mouth with a small smile before passing a piece over to her sister.

“I had to work and raise the children, so I started using drugs,” she says. “We are very poor people, so I used opium. We don’t have anything to eat. That is why we have to work and use drugs to keep our kids quiet.”

The entire extended family is addicted…

[continues at CNN]

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  • Belcat

    I saw this first about a year ago. It’s not overly surprising if you think about it, I remember grandmothers telling me they’d give their kids a little alcohol to make them sleep. I strongly suspect this stuff isn’t as strong as the stuff they sell on the street, so less addictive. Also since the parents are controlling the kids’ supply, the kids can’t get addicted as easily. The parents, on the other hand… they could be addicted easily.

  • Belcat

    I saw this first about a year ago. It’s not overly surprising if you think about it, I remember grandmothers telling me they’d give their kids a little alcohol to make them sleep. I strongly suspect this stuff isn’t as strong as the stuff they sell on the street, so less addictive. Also since the parents are controlling the kids’ supply, the kids can’t get addicted as easily. The parents, on the other hand… they could be addicted easily.

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  • http://twitter.com/Adigam John Bonanno

    It wasn’t so long ago that over the counter paregoric (camphor & opium in alcohol) was used routinely by American parents to calm their kids down when they were teething. Or any other time they wouldn’t calm down. Back in the 70s my Sikh neighbor recommended “baby gripe water” (at the time, a diluted paregoric) he bought in Canada to help my daughter sleep.

    • DCS

      that was not what paregoric was for,,drugging your babies to make them sleep,,,it was diluted with water for stomach aches and rubbed on their gums while they were teething to help with the discomfort, NOT just because they wouldn’t __”calm down”……that is child abuse…..a sleeping aid? no, a reason to” abuse a medication” apparently….

  • http://twitter.com/Adigam John Bonanno

    It wasn’t so long ago that over the counter paregoric (camphor & opium in alcohol) was used routinely by American parents to calm their kids down when they were teething. Or any other time they wouldn’t calm down. Back in the 70s my Sikh neighbor recommended “baby gripe water” (at the time, a diluted paregoric) he bought in Canada to help my daughter sleep.

  • DCS

    that was not what paregoric was for,,drugging your babies to make them sleep,,,it was diluted with water for stomach aches and rubbed on their gums while they were teething to help with the discomfort, NOT just because they wouldn’t __”calm down”……that is child abuse…..a sleeping aid? no, a reason to” abuse a medication” apparently….

  • EAGD

    Hey, when Allah gives you opium you make opium-ade!

  • EAGD

    Hey, when Allah gives you opium you make opium-ade!

  • that1guy
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