Rehabilitation centers in Herat province in the west of Afghanistan have chosen music therapy as a new method for the treatment of their patients.
In one of these centers, live music is performed for two hours a day for drug addicts. They dance, sing, play instruments and listen to music to feel distanced from drugs for a while.
“Drugs have been replaced by music for us. It keeps us happy and delighted and helps us not to think about drugs,” said Juma Khan, a drug addict who is under treatment at a rehab center in Herat.
“Music has a huge impact on us. We listen to music when we want to think about drugs. It has turned into a habit for us,” said Hasan, a drug addict.
A study by the rehab centers shows that music therapy has proved effective for drug addicts in their rehabilitation process.
“Addiction is a psychological illness. They will not have the desire for drugs if they remain happy,” said Basir Ahmad Wafa, head of Herat’s addiction treatment center.
“We use music in all rehab camps. It has had 70 percent positive impacts on feelings of drug addicts,” said Noor Ahmad Arab, head of the union of rehabilitation centers in Herat.
Ahmad Zia, a singer who often performs at one of the rehab centers in Herat, said he was once a drug addict, but recovered from drug addiction through music therapy four years ago.
“We come here for two hours every day to perform for the boys. They like music and become excited by listening to music,” Zia said.
Health officials said Herat has the highest number of addicts after Kabul. Government figures show that more than 70,000 drug addicts are living on streets and cemeteries in the province.