Drug addiction on rise in Valley
INT'L DAY AGAINST DRUG ABUSE, ILLICIT TRAFFICKING
Srinagar, June 25: They smoke it, sniff it, eat it, inject it and temporarily escape into a deceptive world.
The Kashmiri youth have fallen into the net of drugs, with such cases increasing by 35-40 per cent in the last few years.
Dr Arshad Hussain, a psychiatrist at the Government Psychiatric Hospital, says the menace of drug addiction had gripped the city, with mostly youngsters falling into the trap.
“There is no doubt that drug abuse has increased in Kashmir. Historically, a low drug addiction zone, Kashmir has lost its innocence. The statistics are alarming. Mostly youth in the 18-35 age groups have fallen in the trap. Deaths are reported in young men because of opioid use,” Dr Arshad said.
Among the drugs consumed in valley are medicinal opiates, such as Corex and Codeine. Benzodiazepines like Diazepam, Alprazolam, Alprax and cannabis derivatives like hashish and marijuana. Besides alcohol intake seems to be picking up, said Yasir Arafat Zahgeer, a social worker working in a drug de-addiction.
Noted psychiatrist Mushtaq Marghoob said, “There is no doubt that there is a surge in drug addiction cases in the valley. It has reached the worst level. Opiate medicinal preparations as well as heroin abuse have become the most serious problem in Kashmir over the past few years.”
According to a study conducted by the United Nations Drug Control Programme in 2008, there are 60,000 substance abusers in the Valley.
Zahgeer said, “In the last two-and-a-half years, we have treated 198 patients and we have had 3500 visiting patients. Our waiting list currently has 245 people. The maximum number we can accommodate in our centre is 10. We get an average of two to four patients in a day.”
Highlighting the need for increasing the number of doctors at de-addiction centres, Dr Nadeem Nazir, Medical Superintendent, Police Hospital, here said, “There are few doctors here. We lack facilities. An upgrade is needed.”
Large scale cultivation of cannabis and poppy in south Kashmir and seizures of large quantities of opiates, mostly heroin, in different areas is increasing at an alarming rate, Margoob said.
Deputy Commissioner, Excise Duty and Taxation Shamim Ahmad, claims that there was decline in poppy cultivation as compared to last year, which was the peak year. “We destroyed poppy spread on 2000 kanals (100 hectares) of land this year. We began the drive in April and it would continue till the end of this month. Poppy cultivation is highest in South Kashmir,” he said.
Noted sociologist Prof B A Dabla said, “There is no official figure but individual studies reveal that an estimated 30-35 per cent of the youth (15-35 years old), both male and female, have become victim of drug addiction”.
Pointing towards the spread of this menace to both rural as well as urban Kashmir, he said, “This isn’t limited to urban Kashmir or rural...It has spread to all areas now.”
With drug addiction becoming a serious problem, department of psychiatry, Government Medical College, took a lead by conducting awareness and intervention programs in three major districts of Srinagar, Islamabad and Varmul. A team of experts from National De-addiction Centre, Delhi, were actively involved in this programme, Dr Arshad said adding 2500 patients were identified and a treatment plan formulated.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 25 Jun 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 25 Jun 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 26 Jun 2010 00:00:00 IST
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