RAMALLAH, August 25 (JMCC) - After Israel's war in Gaza
, reports The National
, Gazan's recreational drug use skyrocketed, as residents sought relief from trauma and psychosomatic ailments.
Hamas officials recently began a crackdown on the drug and in the course of claiming to have seized two million doses of the drug in July alone, one top official admitted to The National that he doubts the police intercepted more than 10 per cent of the influx of pills from Egypt.
“At least 20 million pills a month, every month, for a population of 1.5 million people?” said the police official, who refused to be named. “How can that not be an epidemic of addiction?”
Several tunnel operators asked about the extent of the smuggling described his estimate as reasonable.
Hasan Zeyada, a psychologist and manager of the Gaza Community Centre, which treats drug addicts, said the problems began appearing widespread after the war, starting with what he described as “psychosomatic pain”.
“The high stress levels from the ongoing blockade, multiple invasions, internal divisions and fighting and finally the massacre of January 2009 have consequences,” Mr Zeyada said. “People at first started talking about pain – in their backs, in their heads. And they would seek to medicate these pains, even though they were psychological in nature.
“Then people started suggesting it to each other,” he continued. “‘Try this tablet, it makes your mood better,’ people would tell each other. What started as a benign misdiagnosis of common stress ailments has now turned into an addiction driven by psychological pain.”
Read the story at The National