Baramulla: Besides being a major concern for the people, narcotic smuggling is emerging as a major challenge for law enforcement agencies.
This is illustrated by the quantum of contraband seized by the J&K Police in the Baramulla district over the past few years.
The menace needs to be fought by involving the local population whose cooperation could prove vital in eradicating the menace of drug abuse.
As per the data shared by J&K Police, in the last three years, they have been successful in seizing around 100 kg of contraband substances including cocaine, heroin, and brown sugar.
A total of 227 cases have been registered in connection with the seizure of drugs and 151 challans were produced.
A total of 232 persons have been prosecuted during this period while the authorities also detained five persons under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
The data paints a grim picture and shows that if the supply chain is not broken, it could prove disastrous for society in general and youth in particular.
Police said that in 2020, authorities seized 6 kg cocaine, over 1 kg heroin, and 6 kg charas while in 2021, it seized over 43 kg heroin, 252 gm brown sugar, and around 10 kg charas, and in the current year, 21 kg of heroin and 2.5 kg of brown sugar has been seized.
A Police official described drug abuse as a major challenge for law enforcement agencies and said that war against the drug abuse needs combined efforts of the law enforcement agencies as well as the people.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Baramulla Rayees Muhammad said, “The civilians need to come forward to help the society get rid of drug addiction. The war against drug abuse can’t be won without their participation and support.”
Head of the Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College (GMC) Baramulla Dr Tajam-ul-Hussain described drug abuse as a matter of concern.
He said that ever since GMC Baramulla started the Additional Treatment Facility (ATF) in April this year, over 600 patients had registered at the facility.
He said that of these patients, around 300 had been diagnosed with Hepatitis C which shows the rampant use of injectable substances among such patients.
“Around 50 percent of these patients being diagnosed Hepatitis positive shows the intensity of the substance abuse,” he said. “If such patients are not diagnosed and treated in time, their chances of contracting the deadly liver disease are high.”
The drug abuse has destroyed scores of families across north Kashmir.
As per reports, in the last few years, more than 20 youth have died across north Kashmir.
Dr Tajam-ul-Hussain said most deaths occur due to drug overdose.
He said that of late it had been observed that drug addicts were switching over to injected substance use and in that case, overdose causes immediate death.
“To get a maximum kick in a short time, the drug addicts switch to injectable substance use. In that case overdose of drugs leads to instant death. Most deaths occur due to overdose of an injectable substance,” Dr Tajam-ul-Hussain said.
Muhammad Ashraf, a civil society member, described the situation as worrisome.
He said if society fails to show concern towards the issue, it would be a great injustice to the youth. “Such patients need counselling as well as rehabilitation. As responsible society members, we should identify them, approach the concerned counselling centre, and work on their rehabilitation. It will be a great service to humankind,” he said.
SSP Baramulla Rayees Muhammad said that society had to become more responsible in combating drug abuse.
He said that the drug peddlers as well as drug addicts belong to the same society and identifying them and informing the local Police was extremely important.
Narrating an example of a head priest of a Masjid in the Tangmarg area of Baramulla district, he said as a responsible citizen, the Imam approached Police and sought assistance in identifying the drug addicts.
He said that after getting firsthand knowledge of the behaviour of the drug addicts, the Imam identified five youths in his area and brought them for counselling.
“All five persons were found to be drug addicts. We provided them with every assistance like counselling and medical treatment. Now they are living a normal life. This is how responsible citizens can bring a lot of change in eradicating the drug menace,” he said.