Devil Pills Strike Gaza

Gaza residents addict pain killer tablet.

Gaza residents have a vacation on beach

For six weeks, Abu Ahmad like lived in another world. Not in his residence area, a district in Gaza Strip that was attacked by Israel last January. A territory was bombed with white phosphorus shells which can melt human skin and bones.

With Tramadol, this 45 year-old man could forget that he is unemployed could do was sit and drink tea or coffee. Also, he might forget his wife and ten children need humanitarian aids. “When I took it, I felt very relaxed,” said a former driver last Tuesday.

Tramadol is a kind of pain killer tablet with a narcotic effect. By using a 200 mg tablet, a user can sleep a whole day. In fact, one user acknowledged it as like being wrapped in a full body blanket but felt shagging.

Abu Ahmad recognized the pill from his friend. He used it to go away from depressed and suffering from headache. Slowly but sure, he becomes addict. He quickly graduated feom taking one pill a day, to three or four and then he could took eight pills per day. Whereas manufactures warn the maximum daily dose of Tramadol should be no more 300 mg per day.

He said it’s difficult to stay away free of Tramadol because it only way to erase his suffering. Even he had to go the bathroom every ten minutes in sweating. His weight dropped to 58 kilograms from 85 kilos. “You take one pill and you feel better of course,” said Abu Ahmad.

The price for a strip of 10 tablets is around 3.40 pound. This illegal drug comes into Gaza through Rafah border can be found easily in drug stores. Even there were people selling it on the street. Several of Gaza residents were using the drug for its supposed power to improve sexual performance.

According to Hasan Shaban Ziyada, a psychologist from the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP), there were a lot of users of this medication because of difficult situation caused by Israeli blockade, division of Hamas and Fatah, and war in last January.

Isolation imposed since Hamas occupied Gaza in mid June 2007 has caused stock of food, medicines, water, electricity, fules, and other materials dropped drastically. A number of 45 per cent of around 1.5 million people have no job.

Gaza young generation has also become target, like Muhammad, a 21year-old student. He became customer of Tramadol after failing his high school exams three years ago. He could take a daily dose of 1,000 mg. He sat at his computer all night and slept all day. “You are in another world. Even when people keep criticizing you, you don’t feel angry,” he said. Because of his bad habit, he was threw away from the family house in northern Gaza.

Even Abu Ahmad was getting better, bad situation continues in Gaza may make him back to the satanic pill. “If you have children and you can’t find work to give them what they need, then you can’t sleep.”

Independent/NZ Herald/Faisal Assegaf

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