Jammu and Kashmir National Conference President and Member Parliament Dr Farooq Abdullah Thursday said that the burgeoning menace of drug addiction in J&K was dangerous and that the fight against drug abuse should not be relinquished due to the prevailing COVID-19 crises.
On International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the party president in his message said that the substance abuse and drug addiction had emerged as one of the biggest threats to “our future generation”.
“Unfortunately Jammu and Kashmir continues to grapple with the menace of drug and substance abuse. Reports about the prevalence of drug abuse among youngsters, particularly the school going children in Kashmir is alarming. If something substantial is not done to tackle it, then I am afraid we are going to lose a whole new generation to this menace,” Dr Farooq in a statement said.
He said, “It’s time for all of us to collectively start a war at each level against the menace and save our young from the scourge. Apart from an effective and coordinated government response against drug peddlers and their protectors, civil society too has an important part to play in this fight. Our religious heads, local leaders together need to address the issue at their individual levels and help those who want to raise their voice against the menace.”
Meanwhile party spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar while expressing concern over “inaction” of the government towards curbing the menace said, “Government is not doing enough to stop the illicit sale and purchase of drugs in Jammu and Kashmir, and society on its part has failed in its collective response, which is destroying our current generation by impeding their growth and development.
“The moth of drug addiction is devouring our youth, their dreams. J&K is falling into the grip of drug abuse, perhaps it is a second biggest epidemic after COVID-19 in store for us.
“It is astonishing how widespread the problem is in villages and cities across J&K. We see adolescents huddle together in certain areas smoking, snorting, and shooting up. It is easily available and the administration is acting as a mute spectator.
“Failing to act against the drug mafia and identifying the spots where these addicts huddle up; administration has also miserably failed to come up with more de-addiction centers, counseling centers to help control such delinquency. Absence of proper psychiatric and medical treatment is also compounding the menace.
“Administration on its part has failed to grapple with the issue primarily because of the absence of any policy framework and required budgetary support. By no means should COVID-19 impede our fight against the menace of drug abuse. It is a continuous fight, and there is no scope for slackness for the consequences of it will be hard to contain.”
Imran said that the need of the hour was to have for a flagship programme to curb the menace by preventing the sale and purchase of illicit and other harmful drugs, identifying addicts and putting them on the path of recovery.
He stressed for augmenting the intake capacity of drug de-addiction centers. “Such centers should come up in all districts. Good policing is also needed to block the spaces where such illicit activity takes place,” he said.