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The asphalt-paved patio juts out onto the Tripoli seaside, as a light breeze blows at Ali's back.Such problems plague many neighborhoods in Tripoli, Lebanon's second largest city and northern capital, and the fallout is driving some from the metropolis' population toward drug abuse and addiction. A year ago, Ali said he had recently kicked a habit of abusing prescription pills. Around 500,000 people live in Tripoli, a city tarnished by poverty, unemployment, and politically driven armed clashes. Just a year ago, Ali sported a thick yet clean-cropped black beard, shaven above the upper lip, and radiated anger at President Assad's regime, his supporters in Tripoli, and the Syrian refugees whom he claims are stealing all the work in the city.Aside from pills, guns are also readily available to many Tripolitans, as is evident by the regular clashes that occur in some of the city's neighborhoods.Ali admitted that some militiamen in Tripoli prepare for battle with rivals from neighboring areas by taking such pills.NGO employees like Helwe and Badra are adamant that as long as the city is stuck in the limbo of poverty and unemployment, exacerbated by a lack of security on the ground, the cycle of drug use in Tripoli will continue.
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