I don't mean to diminish the tragedy or heartbreak attendant to infant deaths and near misses. Any death, particularly a child's is dreadful. However, consider the words of Dr. Mohammad Akbar whom Badkhen interviewed:
Every month we receive two or three babies like this, not breathing, overdosed,” he said. “It is very common for people in this area to give opium to children when they cry. If he had gotten here twenty minutes later, he wouldn’t have lived. Last year, we had three children who were brought here dead.This terrible epidemic is killing… three children per year. Wait, what? Here's the worst part, Badkhen's description of just who Dr. Mohammad Akbar is, "Dr. Mohammad Akbar, the sole pediatrician here, told me the hospital receives approximately 1,000 child patients each year." To recap, the sole pediatrician at the sole hospital north of Balkh sees three deaths from opium overdose per year.