Afgan drug addict woman 123456 by R Persson

Addiction strikes many women in Afghanistan.

Photographer Rafaela Persson has lived in Afghanistan since 2008, and spends time getting to know her subjects.

I had an idea to photograph female drug addicts. Afghanistan is the world’s biggest producer of opium, from which heroin is derived. According to a study made by U.N. Drugs and Crimes Office in 2010, the rate of drug addiction in Afghanistan is twice the global average; Afghans have become the leading consumers of their own opium.  Approximately one million Afghans, or eight percent of the war-shattered country’s total population is suffering from drug addiction, a 75 percent increase since 2005. What is even more alarming is that studies show that 50 percent of Afghanistan’s opium-using parents give the drug to their own children…

Flying in over Afghanistan on an early November morning of 2008, revealed a barren landscape with no greenery visible for miles. I went to Afghanistan intrigued by its people and culture, being something very different than the places I previously visited. What would it be like photographing here? Would I be able to get close to any Afghans? I like to spend extended periods of time with people I photograph. In Afghanistan many journalists seemed to use the 15 min rule: you never stay longer than 15 minutes in a place because that is how long it takes for someone with a cell phone to arrange a car to kidnap you.

Persson shares her photographs and stories in an essay at Camera Obscura.


-via Nag on the Lake