SHRC study connects drug abuse with affluence, family structure and misadministration

A majority of persons among thousands involved in drug abuse across Kashmir came from Srinagar and 90 percent of all abusers belonged to nuclear families, a study conducted by J&K state human rights commission has found.

“The problem of drug addiction in the state of Jammu and Kashmir has revealed that 40 percent of the youngsters fall prey to drug abuse which includes both boys and girls of the age group between 16-25 years,” the report by SHRC states.

“Our investigation clearly shows lack of administration which, as a result, let loose the ones who indulge in making drug abuse flourish in the valley,” the report concludes.

The study “Drug Addiction In Kashmir” has found that substance abuse had a direct relationship with economic background of families, with the highest number of abusers, 34.5 percent, belonging to families whose monthly income was above Rs 45000 and 2.5 percent to those with no regular monthly income.

“19 percent of the patients had family income ranging between 15000 rupees to 25000 rupees. 18 percent patients had a family income of 15000 rupees and less. 14.5 percent of the patients had family income ranging between 35000 rupees and 45000 rupees. 11.5 percent had a family income ranging between 25000 rupees to 35000 rupees,” the study reveals.

The combination of easy availability of money, nuclear families among the economically better off classes and inaction of the administration drives drug abuse, with teenagers and youth in their early 20s worst affected.

The study also elucidates that 90 percent of drug abusers involved in drug abuse came in nuclear families, while only 10 percent patients were from joint families.

37 percent of all the addicts who reported to de-addiction centers belonged to Srinagar, while other 20 percent came from Baramulla and Budgam districts, followed by Anantnag district from where 9.5 percent of the patients came.

Other districts of the state account for 30 percent of the drug users.

 “Awareness about drug rehabilitation centres may be more among the people who live in the district Srinagar due to availability and accessibility of such rehabilitation centres there,” states the report.

A de-addiction center at Kashmir’s premier SMHS hospital has also registered an increase in the influx of abusers for several years.

According to the SHRC report the center received 2535 patients and 224 patients in its outpatient department (OPD) and in-patient department (IPD) respectively in 2016, which increased to 2692 patients and 408 patients in OPD and IPD respectively in 2017.

In 2018, the center received 3895 patients and 440 patients at its OPD and IPD respectively.

“44 percent started using drugs during the age group of 16 to 20 years …The second largest age group having the strength of 19 percent belongs to 21 to 25 years of age…The third age group of belongs the age group of 15 years…,” mentions the report.

The report has also found that cannabis is mostly used in Kashmir by drug users owing to its easy availability, while heroin comes second on the list.

“Female drug users were found using drugs like alparx, codeine, phosphate, diazepam, fluid, iodex, etc., Financially sound persons are addicted to alcohol and hard drugs like brown sugar,” says the report.

The report also mentions 69 percent of the drug users were educated to 12th standard and more than 20 percent were graduates.

The study shows “41 percent being self-employed or businessmen, while the next majority 35 percent belong to student community.”

The report has also concluded that there is “least scope for rehabilitation” of drug users in Kashmir considering the available infrastructure and “lack of administration”.

“Kashmiri society is one of the societies rather the only society where there is least scope for rehabilitation of those who have fallen prey to the menace of drug addiction. There is a lack of proper infrastructure and counseling centres which could prove helpful in putting an end to the drug abuse,” the report says in one of its conclusions.