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Drug use, sales soar in Iraq's Basra amid nationwide spike - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Drug use, sales soar in Iraq's Basra amid nationwide spike

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By SINAN SALAHEDDIN
Associated Press

BASRA, Iraq (AP) - The rows of self-harm scars that course upward on the teenager's forearms from her wrists nearly to her elbows are reminders of dark times.

At age seven, the now 19-year-old was diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia, a hereditary disease that comes with painful symptoms, including inflammation of the hands and feet and frequent infections. She became a regular visitor to a hospital where she was given Tramadol, an opioid medication that brought some relief.

Eventually, though, she began obtaining the medication even when there was no pain.

She is part of a phenomenon in Iraq's southern Basra province, where illegal drug use and sales have reached previously unseen levels, mainly among youths, over the last three years.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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