A Heroin Epidemic Essay Research Paper Adding

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A Heroin Epidemic Essay, Research Paper Adding to Pakistan’s Misery, a Heroin EpidemicRaees Khan sleeps most nights on a pillow of dust. His home is a median strip along the busy Liaquadabad Road, across from a mosque. A little before dawn a loudspeaker announces the first call to prayer, a reminder to the holy that before Allah all men are naught. This noisy summons fails to awaken Mr. Khan. Though a Muslim, he does not pray five times a day. Other rituals command him: emptying a tiny bag of heroin into a plastic bottle cap, adding water and heating it on a small flame, drawing the hypnotic broth into a syringe, hunting for a plump vein and feeding into it the fluid warmth. After a decade of addiction, locating the vein is the hardest part. Most of those conduits have long

ago collapsed. One recent morning, Mr. Khan, 30, and a helpmate searched his arms, hands, feet and groin before settling on a faint line in his right biceps. The shot was transporting. His head lowered sideways as if he were laying it on a platter. But a few moments later he was up again and grumbling dissatisfaction. He scavenged in his pocket for another bag of the brown powder, and this time he inhaled it. “I am flying now,” he said, though this was merely the view from within. Actually, he was staggering toward the street, just another Karachi dope fiend on open display. Pakistan, which does not lead the world in much, is most likely No. 1 when it comes to heroin addicts. Reliable country-by-country numbers have not been compiled, with social science a low priority in the

third world and addicts hard to poll anyway. But the United Nations estimates that 1.5 million heroin addicts live in this nation of 150 million, the unfortunate result of geography, geopolitics, corruption and poverty. “I think we can be quite definite that Pakistan has the largest heroin population,” said Bernard Frahi, who heads the United Nations drug program office for South and West Asia. “And whatever the total is, it seems to be getting quite a bit worse.” Karachi itself, a city notorious for lawlessness, political killings and gargantuan slums, has 600,000 heroin addicts, according to the nation’s anti-narcotics officials. And while that total seems exaggerated — for it would mean that about 1 in 15 adult males is hooked — the city is replete with the

dope-addled in each section of its troubled sprawl. Addicts are everywhere and nowhere, easy to overlook from a car but impossible to miss on foot. They are huddled together on the sidewalk, under the bridge, behind the truck, against the fence, along the prime begging space beside the shrine. “Heroin is written in my fate,” said Mohammad Aslam, 40, who had a needle in his arm and a prayer cap on his head. “No one can change the decree of fate.” Their days fill with the customary gamut of degradation: the craving, the begging, the scheming. Mr. Aslam has been shunned by his wife — or perhaps it is the other way around. He sleeps near the city’s main drainage ditch, just a few feet from raw sewage. With the veins in their extremities withered, addicts often tug down

their pants, injecting near the groin. Jan Sher, 29, does this. He is a theatrical man who lives beneath the girders of a walkway. Dirt is on him like plaster and there are crescents of sweat under his arms, but he handles a syringe so deftly that it may as well be an extra finger. “This is Karachi,” he said, letting the needle linger, drawing blood in, letting it out. “You can drop your pants in a police station and shoot up, and no one would care.” A dose of heroin, known as a token, costs about $1 — about a tenth of what it would cost in Brooklyn. The quality is bad, with barbiturates often mixed in. But with the price so cheap, a three-bag habit is affordable to anyone whose hands can beg small change or steal an item off a shelf. A syringe, heroin’s most