UNCOMFORTABLY NUMB

SHORT VIDEO CLIPS, 21 Jan 2010

AlJazeera

The underground tunnels between Egypt and Gaza may be a lifeline for those trapped inside the blockaded Strip, but along with the clothes, furniture and food that make their way through the tunnels, a dangerous drug – Tramadol – is also slipping through.

Tramal, as it is known in Gaza, is a dangerously addictive painkiller which is illegal without a prescription, but a growing number of Gazans are getting hooked on it.

Israel’s siege has cut Gazans off from the outside world and made hundreds of thousands of them jobless.

Eighty per cent of the population are now dependent on some form of UN handouts.

As the people of Gaza slip deeper into poverty, they are increasingly succumbing to drug abuse, according to doctors in the region.

Local authorities say that the number of drug-related arrests in Gaza have more than doubled in the past year, despite the Hamas regime’s strict narcotics controls.

Uncomfortably Numb talks to some of those addicts, those who are trying to help them and the authorities seeking to crack down on drug abuse.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 21 Jan 2010.

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