Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Sunday said young people are dying due to heroin abuse in Kashmir.
“Heroin-related deaths go unreported in the valley,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
“The heroin addicts admitted in the de-addiction center at SMHS hospital revealed that their friends are dying on regular basis due to heroin use and these deaths are not reported,” the DAK President said.
“It was only after seeing their peers dying in bathrooms, bedrooms and living rooms, these heroin addicts sought medical advice,” Dr Nisar said.
“Young people abusing heroin are either brought dead to hospitals or they die in intensive care units undiagnosed because the families hide their history of drug abuse,” he added.
Dr Nisar said more heroin addicts are dying now because they have moved from snorting (inhaling through the nose) to injectables making the drug even more lethal.
Heroin is an illicit opiod drug with highly addictive potential and it can kill a person by respiratory or heart failure.
“The official figure of 343 heroin addicts in the valley is a gross underestimate as most of the abusers don’t seek medical attention,” Dr Nisar said adding that “there is an epidemic of heroin abuse in Kashmir posing serious threat to the whole community.”
“Unseen forces are behind heroin trafficking in Kashmir. They are using their touts and agents who receive financial and material assistance for trafficking these deadly drugs. There is a strong network of drug peddlers who make these drugs available with fruit sellers to tea shops and gyms and they enjoy the patronage of certain forces behind the curtain,” Dr Nisar said.
“As many as 5525 drug addicts were registered in the year 2018-2019 at SMHS de-addiction center. From cannabis to medicinal opiods to solvents, the youth of Kashmir are hooked to different substances,” he said.
“We need to spread more awareness among youth about ill effects of drug abuse and create adequate infrastructure for treatment, rehabilitation and harm reduction for the victims of drug abuse,” said Dr Nisar.