Drug addiction in Kashmir – causes and concerns

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International Day Against Drug Abuse
Drug addiction in Kashmir – causes and concerns
By M Ahmad
The International Day against Drug Abuse and Trafficking is celebrated on June 26, 2021. This day is celebrated to raise awareness about drug abuse and trafficking, which are significant issues of the present day. Drug addiction and illicit drug trafficking are an evil in our society and a disorientation among a majority of young people. A problem which is a major brake on humanity and a poison for the well-being of young people in particular. The significance of this day has never been greater with the increase in drug use around the world and millions of people suffering from drug use disorders. The World Drug Report 2020 published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) highlighted an increasing trend in drug use around the world. The report found that around 269 million people used drugs globally in 2018, up 30% from 2009, while more than 35 million people worldwide suffer from drug use disorders. drugs.

A recent study conducted by the Srinagar-based Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (IMHANS) at a drug rehab center in Srinagar, found that more than two-thirds of the patients in the study had started to abuse substances in the age group of 11 to 20 years. . The most frequently identified substances of abuse were nicotine (94.4%), medicinal opioids (65.7%), cannabis (63.6%), benzodiazepines (45.5%), other prescription drugs (43.4%), alcohol (32.5%), inhalants (11.1%), and cocaine (7.5%). The study found that poly-substance abuse was found in 91.9% of the patients studied. The consumption of inhalants was observed mainly among adolescents (54.5%), while nicotine (50.2%), cannabis (49.2%), alcohol (51.1%), opioids (58.4%) and benzodiazepines (53.48%) were more predominant in the 21 to 30 year age group.

According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) in February 2019, 600,000 people, or 4.6% of the total population of Jammu and Kashmir use opioid drugs, 80% of Kashmiri drug addicts consume heroin and morphine.

The drug addiction problem not only affects the physical, mental and social health of individuals, it is disruptive and burdensome on the whole family. It also seriously threatens family happiness and creates individual, family, economic and social disorganization.

Kashmir’s disputes such as political unrest, armed conflict, militancy, violence, terrorism, psychological distress, adverse environmental conditions and rapid socio-economic issues like poor industrial and infrastructural development, mass unemployment , corruption, poverty, underdevelopment, etc. drug addicts in Kashmiri society. The consumption of tobacco, charas, Ganga, cocaine, heroin, opiates, cannabis, alcohol and inhalants, etc. increased rapidly among adolescents in Kashmir. The use of these illicit drugs constituting a great threat to humanity, damaging adolescents mentally and physically, damaging family relationships, spoiling potential, dreams, degrading social and moral values ​​and becoming an obstacle to the orientation of their career as well as to the progress and development of society.

Drug abuse measures are essential because drug use is basically a health problem. Unless we reduce the demand for illicit drugs, we can never fully address cultivation, production or trafficking. Governments have a responsibility to tackle both drug trafficking and drug abuse, but communities can also make a major contribution. Families, schools, civil society and religious organizations can do their part to rid their communities of drugs. Businesses can help provide legitimate livelihoods. The media can raise awareness of the dangers of drugs. We can be successful if we strengthen our commitment to fundamental health and human rights principles, shared responsibility, a balanced approach to reducing supply and demand, and universal access to prevention, treatment and support. This will foster communities free from drug crime and violence, individuals free from drug addiction who can contribute to our common future and a safer world for all.

It is high time to save our generation from drug addiction and if we do not take concrete action now then after a few years the younger generation in Kashmir will be destroyed. The police are not enough to fight drug addiction. As a society, we must act responsibly.

(Author M Ahmad is Director (I / C), Abhedananda Home-Higher Secondary Institution for Specially-handed Children, Solina, Rambagh, Kashmir)

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