Growing drug addiction and the way forward!

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OPINION

By: Asma Mushtaq

Drug addiction has increased in Jammu and Kashmir and almost every day passes without news of a drug-related incident appearing in our media and newspapers. This is a tragic trend that must be stopped before it reaches alarming proportions and we as a society, the administration, the police as well as civil society must come forward to do what we can in this domain.

Drug addiction is increasingly common among people of all ages and genders and it has a significant impact on modern daily life. Going to work, raising a child, forming family bonds and maintaining mental health are all affected once a person falls into the trap of addiction. It significantly degrades a person’s physical health and harms their mental health. When used in large doses, the drugs even lead to death or convulsions.

In Kashmir, teenagers give up their studies and devote their time to unproductive activities. Tragically, their parents only learn about this behavior when it is already too late. Recently, AIIMS National Drug Addiction Treatment Center had stated that more than 6,000 people in UT of Jammu and Kashmir were affected by drug addiction. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) World Drug Report 2022 estimates that around 284 million people are heavy users of drugs. The maximum growth was reported in heroin use.

The threat of drug addiction has not only affected young people, but other age groups as well. It is a condition in which everyone believes that a feeling of well-being is only achieved through euphoria, because they feel that every situation is made for them and consider this a normal practice. There are many reasons for its spread – although there are various socio-psychological as well as economic reasons, teenagers are also very curious about things and they try them for a while. Teenagers already addicted to drugs also bring their friends and loved ones in the same fold.

Moreover, being exposed to various stresses, young people often end up choosing drugs in the absence of a structural mechanism to address the problems and their concerns. In addition, some illegal drug dealers, for personal gain, also make drugs easily accessible to teenagers.

To stop this destruction, a number of rehabilitation centers have been created in the past but still do not have the situation under control. If we see, young people are close to ruin and such tragedies continue to unfold before our eyes. Suicides, hurting and even killing their close family including parents, lack of money for drugs, theft and other crimes are often reported in our daily news bulletins. The situation is getting worse day by day.

The shocking incident that took place in Anantnag when a son murdered his mother for money is a telling example of the situation we are facing. Well, this is not the only incident as there are several other such issues staring us in the face as we haven’t managed to fix it yet. As a society, we have yet to fully understand the scenario and our health sector is also not sufficiently equipped to address this issue.

The historical turmoil that has continued here has deeply scarred the minds of people here, and when coupled with modern challenges, it only gets worse. Parents can certainly play a key role in the development and upbringing of their children by taking a keen interest in their children’s daily activities. If the owner of the garden remains ignorant of the garden, then how can he improve the garden? Moreover, the responsibility of parents is far greater than any other group or class of people because they are close witnesses to the daily activities of their children. Besides parents, teachers, peers, friends, and associates, all can help keep an eye on children as they grow. We can also help children and young adults by identifying red flags and asking questions related to their mental health.

On top of that, government institutions like drug squads, mental health workers, doctors, drug treatment centers, police all need to focus on this issue and work hard to make sure we don’t lose no precious lives because of addiction.

Unemployment is also one of the main reasons why young people turn to drugs today. In recent years, the Kashmir region has witnessed a huge increase in higher education. However, due to the rising rate of unemployment and its effects, students are getting involved in drug use. Who can play a central role in reversing the situation? Is there anyone seriously talking about why our youth is headed for destruction. Remember that young people make up a significant portion of our demographics, but sadly, this promising slice of the J&K population lives in frustration, unemployment, and insecurity. Although they have the best abilities, our youths from Kashmir, Chenab, Pir Panjal and Jammu regions are uniformly caught in a vortex.

The writer is a student at the Aligarh Muslim University.


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