Hacı Bişkin / DUVAR

Amid a worrisome increase in drug use in the southeastern province of Şırnak, local and provincial police have declined to provide numbers of arrests for selling and using drugs in the province within the past year. 

In recent years, the districts of Cizre, Silopi, Uludere and Beytüşşebap have experienced an alarming rise in the sale and use of illegal substances, after periods of intense conflict between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Turkish security forces left areas in ruins in 2016. 

Following an inquiry by Duvar to the Communications Directorate of the Presidency (CİMER), the Cizre district police department provided the following response: 

“In the examination conducted by our unit, it has been determined that such information cannot be accessed on an individual basis. The necessary information is shared with the public by the necessary authorities, and the statistical information regarding the topic in question cannot be shared individually.” 

The area already is known for high levels of poverty and unemployment, and one source of revenue for locals is smuggling goods from bordering Iraq.  

“Treatment centers should be built and education needs to be given to the youth that have fallen into this swamp and to their families. We don’t want to be silent about this issue. A minister should come to Cizre at midnight and see with their own eyes what is happening here. Young children are wasting away,” said one area resident.