A grave issue

Drug addiction is still untreated menace in the Kashmir valley. As gut wrenching as it may sound, the youth of Kashmir have been entrapped in all ways – physically, mentally and emotionally. Studies have shown that in Kashmir children as young as eight are in the grip of substance abuse. How grim is that! In an age when happiness is all one knows, beauty is all one sees, and honey is what everything tastes like, children are wallowing in substance abuse in the “ Paradise of Earth”, and withering like yet to bloom buds.

In Kashmir, most of the drug abusers are male, however, women also are not unmarred of this destructive plague. Women aged 45 have been seen falling prey to drugs, and drowning in addiction. Drug de-addiction centres of Kashmir have been registering patients in an acutely ascending order every passing year. There has not been any decrement in the number of people registering every year. In Kashmir, every other day there would definitely be news of someone peddling huge amounts of drugs, or some group running a drug racket in some part of the valley, thus making them easily available to the people around.

Kashmir has been miserable for ages and it continues to be so. Heart attacks in the younger population of Kashmir have become very common and has become a daily news. When substances such as cocaine, heroine and cannabis are as easily available as candies, these sudden tragic heart attacks should well be anticipated. Coming across heaps of disposed off injections in dumping is not an unusual sight here. Youth at all levels are robbed of peace, prosperity and happiness. When schools are shut down for unsustainable periods, unemployment is ever upping, causing grave consequences for educated youth and making them transfixed, constantly hearing tragic news, subsequently calamities like drug addiction befall, and are unavoidable. There are vulnerable people in every society and it is not easy for them to cope trauma as it might be for other ones, therefore, many fall prey to drug addiction and get lost in its whirlpool of toxicity.

Studies have shown that many people even after successfully rehabilitating themselves, after coming out of de addiction centres again fall into the trap of drugs and give into them. Society also has a role to play and the extra onus falls on the society to help them come out of it instead of stigmatising and alienating them. Drug addicts are not evil, they are not criminals, rather they are suffering from a disease of helplessness and hopelessness which is why they turn to drugs to escape the consciousness and seek peace and calmness in an unconscious state.

This is not somebody’s problem, it is a plague and is everyone’s problem; the future of Kashmir is at stake. This can be overcome by empathy and sincere concern. The potential of the youth of Kashmir cannot be annihilated, it has to be actualised; it has to be protected.

Sports activities need to be promoted a lot and all the requirements for the same need to be heeded. Installing public libraries would enable more social interaction and generate viable calm environment. Research has proven that gardening is a great way to purge oneself off negativity or despondence; and also Kashmir being one of the great places for hiking and trekking purposes does generate great opportunities that might help people engage in productive activities and maintain the equilibrium.

“Drugs worth around 3.4-5 crores are being vended in a single day in just 2 districts of the valley”, says a study on Drug addiction in Kashmir. We are at the edge of the cliff.