heroin addicts in the sewers of Peshawar
Hooked into the sewers from Peshawar.
Photographer Ton Koene took a week on heroin addicts in the sewers of Peshawar, a desolate town in Northern Pakistan. In the cracks of the world, between rats and cockroaches and under bridges and on garbage dumps, he met people, sometimes children, who have lost almost all hope.
"Give me one good reason why I should quit. I have no future, no job and income, and will never get it again. I spray me to the grave. "So says the 11-year-old Salim Mula. Eleven years pass, petite and small, but speaking as a grown man.
Salim is one of the more than 10,000 drug addicts in Peshawar, a poor northern Pakistani town with a population similar to Rotterdam. The main reason for the relatively high number of addicts in Peshawar is a lack of perspective to a job or income is hard to come by in this corner of the world. Often suffers depression to smoking hashish and the step to heroin is easily made. On every street corner to get it. As a little test I ask a young rascal to a few grams of heroin and look at my watch how long it takes. Within 40 seconds, the guy in front of me with the loot.
Living in the sewers
In one of the many sewers of Peshawar, I met a group of about twenty addicts. Dr. Noman a local Pakistani aid agency introduces me. The addicts greet us with a drunk alekum salam 'and stare at us with half-closed eyes. They should make every effort to focus on the visit, but also to their use: they uncoordinated stabbing a match to heat their heroin. A few meters away from them, along the asphalt, lie the graves. Luguber to see is that a hole has already been dug for the next victim. The addicts are literally using their own grave.
Most addicts smoke fumes of heroin powder that they liquefy tinfoil on a piece of paper by heating it with a match. With a straw they inhale the anesthetic vapors. 'Chasing the dragon' is called in jargon users, because the liquid heroin moisture away from the tinfoil runs down. "They will be but little i