Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off your first 2 months of Unlimited Monthly. Start your subscription for just £29.99 £19.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

Stigma, exclusion and marginalisation

In this video, Raheem from Afghanistan talks about his view on the response to druguse in his country
My name is Abdul Rahim Rejayee, head of Bridge Health Organization I am a former drug user and I worked as a peer educator by (Médecins du Monde) during the time working with them in 2010 I participated in HIV conference at Vienna to represent Afghan drug users.
The drug policy in Afghanistan didn’t have any positive results during this time. It is only written on paper and was not implemented. On the streets there are different laws. For instance, if a drug user has a small amount of drug for his personal use in his pocket, he will be arrested and imprisoned In the meantime, drug dealers walk freely on streets. But the users are beaten and imprisoned Instead of these policies, they should regulate legalized drugs. According to our Minister of Public Health, if the revenue of legalised drugs were spent in Afghan government, the conditions of drug users would improve.
Unfortunately, none of Drug users’ human rights have been respected. As for today we witnessed many drug users were taken by force and violence in the vans for forced treatment and there is no real treatment there. It is just punishment, it feels as if you are in jail for example in 1000 bed detox center (camp Phoenix), they put people there and just beat them and force cold turkey detox. They don’t have the right to complain. And if they ask for some medicine, they just tell them go an take cold shower.
If drugs were legalized, the discrimination and stigma will be removed from drug users they would no longer commit crimes in order to sustain their drug user life Obviously their health condition will improve when they are not seens as criminals anymore, they can have proper jobs and have money for food and health.
They are not living in a good condition, unfortunately. Due to fear of being beaten by the police and people, they go to the worst places of the city in order to use drugs. Nowadays, there are some groups of people who beat them and there is no one to ask them why? there is a gang which has the name of one of the dead leaders of Jihad. They go to different areas and beat drug users. They have killed several drug users. And yet no one have ever questioned why they are beating them, why killing them?
The involvement of people who use drugs, like our organization, is that we have all drug users working as health care providers for the drug users community our workers go to different areas and provide health services for them They do counselling, health education and also introduce those who have health problems to the hospitals we also do wound care and dressings Involvement of drug users is essential to work for their own community. In relation to policy, they can join in decision makings process and talk about things which are not in their favor they can also share their ideas for improvement of policies
My suggestion is this: we must stop the drug war and we have to look for innovative solution to solve the problem like other countries. For instance, Holland which puts the treatment optional not by force. Treatment is on one side and using is on the other side. Those who want treatment will be treated and those who want to use, will use It will decrease the amount of crimes. When everything is available for them, they don’t need to steal or commit crimes
In my opinion, the way to end this problem is to legalize the drugs We should legalize its cultivation and government can buy it from farmers and use it as medicine, for example opiates The income will be beneficial for both farmers and government instead of drug mafia.

In this video you will hear first-hand from Raheem in Afghanistan about stigma, exclusion and marginalisation of people who use drugs. Afghanistan is the primary producer of opium in the world and is a tremendously complex environment in which to provide care for the many homeless people who use drugs. Raheem and his colleagues are in the frontline of the Afghan harm reduction response in Kabul.

As was covered by Dr. Magdalena Harris earlier in this week, the environment and contextual factors play a major role on the health of the individual. Raheem underlines this by expanding on the discrepancy between the policies and the reality on the streets in Kabul.

It is our honour to feature this existing video from Bridge Health Organisation. Thank you for allowing us to feature your video in this course. (Note that this is a video from 2019)

This article is from the free online

Drug Use and Harm Reduction

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now