Bishkek Journal: Addicts in Kyrgyzstan Fight to Break Heroin’s Grip, Armed With Stones

550 views Leave a comment
A studious with his mill during obsession therapy during a Nazaraliev Medical Center in Bishkek, a collateral of Kyrgyzstan.

Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — Inside a yurt that was expensively allocated with internal request rugs and felt tapestries, a immature male prepared for a protocol that is throwing on here as a resolution to a tellurian problem though is, well, grounded in internal tradition.

“Rock,” a immature male said, “I acknowledge that we am a drug addict.” On a runner in front of a male sat a intent he was vocalization to: a stream stone, dull and dappled green, about a distance of a fritter of bread.

A clergyman sat nearby, coaxing a addict — a counsel who wanted usually his initial name, Arman, done open — to go further. The mood was somber.

“Stone, we give we my annoy and my aggression,” Arman said. “I give we all my disastrous qualities that seemed from smoking opium.”

A startling series of people pronounce to rocks here in Bishkek, a collateral of a Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan, that lies along heroin bootlegging routes from Afghanistan into Russia and deeper into Europe. Rocks have spin an constituent component in a diagnosis process for heroin obsession called lithotherapy.

At a finish of a monthlong treatment, a patients travel adult a grassy mountain on a hinterland of Bishkek and swell their rocks onto a flourishing pile.

Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

At a Nazaraliev Medical Center, a hospital that has pioneered a approach, twitching, tattooed addicts pad about in pajamas, toting their rocks to and from therapy sessions.

Though during initial glow all this appears cartoonish — maybe suggestive of a Pet Rock breakthrough in a 1970s — treating heroin obsession here and via a former Soviet countries has taken on a life-or-death coercion as obsession rates rise.

Doctors during a core found that organisation from Central Asia’s conservative, Muslim enlightenment were reticent to acknowledge their obsession in organisation therapy, a common proceed to assistance drug addicts start to overcome their dependence. But it was detected that they non-stop adult easily to rocks.

The Nazaraliev Medical Center, that treats patients, mostly men, from Central Asia, Russia and Arab countries, began regulating a mill process a decade ago, usually as a inundate of heroin poured out of Afghanistan.

Fearing that eradicating drug fields would divide Afghan farmers and spin them toward a Taliban, a United States troops adopted a process of granting cultivation. The business of flourishing poppies boomed, by all accounts.

By final year, according to a United Nations’ annual drug report, drug cultivation reached a top turn globally given a 1930s, and about 85 percent of that sum was grown in Afghanistan, a few hundred miles south of here.

A raise of rejected stones during a folk Islamic event site called Tashtar-Ata, or a Father of a Rocks.

Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

In Bishkek, heroin has spin so permitted that “it’s like shopping sesame seeds,” pronounced Georgy Kavtaradze, a former user who now runs an overdo module for addicts.

As a heroin upsurge rose, a Nazaraliev Medical Center polished a mill therapy. “Not each chairman is means to acknowledge their obsession publicly,” pronounced Dr. Azamat Usupov, a psychologist. “They acknowledge it to a mill instead. The studious has an insinuate review with a rock.”

The hospital claims some success: More than 80 percent of a patients sojourn drug giveaway a year after treatment, a good outcome for heroin users. In interviews, addicts pronounced they were doubtful during initial though came to conclude this proceed to treating their addiction.

Yerzhan Amalbayev, 47, a self-described heroin raider who operated along a widen of highway in Kazakhstan, pronounced he had been by a module twice. After a American function of Afghanistan in 2001, he said, a virginity of a heroin softened as drug prices dropped, and he started regulating some-more heavily. The improved heroin became famous in Central Asia as Allah’s Tears.

Aleksandr, a ship’s prepare from Vladivostok in a Far East of Russia, pronounced he started regulating heroin in 2005, when it “appeared on each travel corner” and a sip sole for a homogeneous of about $8. Heroin became some-more abundant, he said, though he did not censure American policies in Afghanistan. “I say: ‘Rock, nobody is to blame. we have usually myself to blame.’ ”

After their initial conversations with rocks, addicts are speedy to speak out their problems in 3 or 4 sessions and afterwards take a event with their rock, or discuss in a yurt.

Yerzhan Amalbayev, a 47-year-old self-described heroin raider who operated along a widen of highway in Kazakhstan, pronounced he had been by a module twice.

Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

As a module developed, a doctors wove in internal legends that doctors contend offer as Jungian archetypes, to assistance patients form a account of onslaught and feat over addiction.

At a finish of a monthlong treatment, a addicts travel adult a grassy mountain on a hinterland of Bishkek and swell their mill onto a flourishing raise of stones there, during a folk Islamic event site called Tashtar-Ata, or a Father of a Rocks.

About 5,000 addicts have thrown their stones during this place over a past decade, according to a clinic, combining a store representing those thousands of stories of pain and onslaught with addiction. Not all a rocks were thrown there by addicts, though; internal residents with problems separate to narcotics also swell rocks during a site.

Dr. Usupov pronounced addicts are told a fable about a site, of a infantryman who fought immorality spirits there and won. However, a infantryman was pronounced to be so sleepy following that he lay down to nap and died, and his heart incited into a raise of stones.

Several addicts interviewed during a hospital pronounced they compared this rising mill raise outward Bishkek with another Central Asian legend, this one identifying a mill store as one of a legacies, however astonishing and unwanted, of a United States’ fight in Afghanistan and a concomitant arise in drug exports to former Soviet countries.

In a pasture high in a plateau in Kyrgyzstan sits a raise of stream stones during a site compared with Tamerlane, a medieval, winding conqueror.

On his proceed to a battle, according to a fable of this pile, “Tamerlane asked each infantryman to lift a mill into a plateau and chuck it in a meadow,” pronounced Arman, cradling his mill in a yurt after his initial healing event with a stone.

“Coming back, Tamerlane asked everybody who survived to collect adult a rock,” he said. “A raise remained. Each mill in that raise represented a mislaid soldier.”