Has Drug Addiction Reached Epidemic Proportions in Pakistan?

It is high time to combat the Menace of Drug Addiction

Drug addiction has emerged as one of the biggest challenges for Pakistan’s society as large numbers of youngsters continue to get plagued by this menace.  There is no denying the fact that Pakistan is experiencing drug abuse at an alarming rate.  In 2014 an article carried in The Diplomat suggested Pakistan to be the most heroine addicted country in the world. The article also indicated that an additional 110 tons of Afghani heroine is trafficked through Pakistan every year before reaching the international drug market.  According to recent reports 23 million youngsters over the age of 12 are drug addicts in Pakistan. Furthermore, in light of Islamabad Senate report committee on interior and narcotics 8 million people are drug addicts in Pakistan. Furthermore some 700 people die annually owing to drug intake.  According to reports the Balochistan province is currently suffering the most due to drug abuse. Young population in Balochistan is getting afflicted by drugs at an alarming rate whereas 5 % of the adult population has also fallen prey to drug abuse. The basic reason for Balochistan province to remain highly vulnerable to drug abuse is the open and free trade of narcotics in Turbat Balochistan.  Drug abuse is not a problem which is restricted to remote areas but is also growing in urban centers to epidemic proportions. Consequently drug addiction continues to plague educational institutions in Pakistan.  Hashish laden cigarettes are smoked by large numbers of students on university campuses.  It is both strange and sad that most of the students become drug addicts during their school days. According to a research 53% students in the leading schools of Islamabad are drug addicts. The worst part is that law enforcing agencies are accused of averting their eyes from this serious problem. Some time ago a photo of some police men using drugs surfaced on the internet suggesting that the menace of drugs has plagued all quarters of the society.  No wonder some reports indicate that if incase students are arrested for using drugs they are easily set free by offering Rs.500-1000. However, as there is no substantial evidence to support this piece of information therefore one should not expect a change for good regarding this issue. In light of several surveys conducted both in re-habitation centers and by interviewing student’s depression remains one of the chief reasons for drug addiction. Young people use drugs for the fear of a competitive environment in student life as well as work place. Therefore resorting to drugs seems a good option to them.  Most of the students admit the fact that Pakistani youth is a depressed generation.  However, other than fear and depression there are plenty of other reasons such as family breakdown impelling individuals to take drugs. The Anti- Narcotics Force is making much effort in creating awareness among young individuals by organizing seminars on university campuses. However, the question is whether awareness creating seminars are enough to combat this menace which has already plagued a large portion of the society.  The United States of America has one of the highest rate of heroine consumption however reports suggests that Pakistan has beaten the US with 44 tons of annual heroine consumption.  Ice and Hashish are getting more and more popular among Pakistan’s educated youth.  The government has strongly expressed its desire to make drug test mandatory for both teachers and students in Islamabad. In reality how effective this plan turns out to be we our yet to see. In a country where there are drugs addicts on every scale of the economic ladder it is difficult to combat drugs. Since the society is plagued with this epidemic and includes both the rich and poor therefore stopping drug addiction seems next to impossible.

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