In the besieged Gaza Strip, many have turned to analgesics to avoid a harsh reality in the aftermath of the Israeli military offensive last winter, coupled with factional violence and joblessness.So the ban on liquor is not so limiting after all.
The use of Tramadol, a painkiller with narcotic effects and known commercially as Tramal, has prevailed even among teenagers. Suad, 17, takes the painkillers secretly and without her family’s consent. She says she has been a Tramal-addict for over a year. [...]
Muna is a Gazan woman who took her first Tramal dose unwillingly when her husband dissolved the medicine in her tea. "My husband was a drug addict, and he spent a lot of money on drugs. After he was fed up with my demands that he give up drugs, he secretly dissolved Tramal and other drugs into my tea several times until I began taking the medicine myself."
"Anyone who goes through what I went through will be forced to take painkillers even if they become an addict," says Imam, a university student who was shot in the knee by masked gunmen during factional violence in 2007. He says he feels dizzy and lightheaded when he takes the pills, and that it hampers his studies. [...]
For his part, Dr Munir Al-Barsh, director general of the de facto government’s Ministry of Health says Tramal is banned without prescription. "A bill is being drafted to add Tramal to the list of banned narcotics," he added explaining that over the past three years, seven pharmacies have been shut down for selling Tramal.
The director of the ant-narcotic unit of the Gaza police, Jamil Dahshan, explains that Tramal in pharmacies is less of a trouble than the pills being smuggled through tunnels.
"Some pharmacists and physicians merchandise these pills and capsules secretly and thus they assist drug dealers and addicts who use these pills instead of heroin, cocaine, and hashish," he said. [...]
Crossposted on Soccer Dad