Date of Award

8-13-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Bruce Perry

Second Advisor

Carrie F. Whitney

Abstract

Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug, worldwide and also in Afghanistan. According to United Nation Office for Drug and crime (UNODC) Afghanistan Cannabis survey (2009), more than half of all drug users interviewed in Afghanistan had used cannabis in their life time. In this survey around 630,000 people, mostly men, were documented as cannabis users. On the other hand, cannabis life time use amongst regular female drug user was 40%. The annual prevalence of cannabis use was 8.1 percent in male and 0.2 percent in female populations (UNODC Afghanistan Cannabis survey 2009). In Afghanistan cannabis is most commonly used amongst various groups of individuals, including public transport and truck drivers, and law enforcement personnel, such as Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army recruits. According to a Government Accountability Report for the United States Congress in March 2010, the percentage of Afghan Police recruits who tested positive for drug use, (i.e., marijuana, hashish and opiates) was 12-40% (Nordland & Wafa, 2010). Cannabis use has been linked to a myriad of adverse health outcome included but not limited to, increased risk of schizophrenia, impairment of cognitive functioning, deterioration of motor skills, weakening of driving skills, adverse pregnancy outcome and increased risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases (Kalant, 2004). The aim of this paper is to highlight cannabis production, use and adverse health outcomes in Afghanistan and to propose recommendations for cannabis control and reversal of its negative health outcomes.

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