Agonized Souls

I shot these images at BARACA — Bangladesh Rehabilitation and Assistance Center for Addicts. It is the first and biggest rehabilitation center in Bangladesh (and largest day-care center for females). A rehabilitation course at the center lasts four months, during which the addicts are not allowed to leave or communicate with the outside world. The center provides therapeutic and psychotropic treatments for their recovery.

Many of the addicts have developed psychotic states over their years of drug abuse. Hepatitis B and C are common phenomena among them.

Narcotics began to enter Bangladesh in earnest during the 80s, quickly mushrooming into a social epidemic. Bangladesh is located between the "Golden Triangle " in Southeast Asia (Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand) and the "Golden Crescent " of Southwest Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran). Thus, the country found itself in the midst of the world's two largest areas of opium production. 

Photography is very personal to me. It’s my reflection. At a central time in my life, I had social experiences with drugs: skunk, hash, promethazine, heroin, ecstasy, cocaine, yaba. This different world intrigued me. Getting high, cruising around with friends, going to parties, mixing at home.  After a while, I saw many of these friends and acquaintances become addicted and subsequently committed to rehabilitation centers.  Over the years I started asking myself questions about this lifestyle. This series explores their state.

—Gazi Nafis Ahmed