Drug abuse entails the repeated and chronic consumption of substances in quantities or through methods that pose significant risks and harm to both the individual and those around them. The issue of drug addiction among the youth in the Kashmir Valley is a pressing concern today. This problem is not limited to males but has also begun to affect females. It is undeniable that the impact of drug addiction extends beyond the addict, impacting the overall quality of life for their entire family.
According to a report published by the UNITED NATIONS DRUG CONTROL PROGRAMME (UNDCP), approximately 70,000 people in the Kashmir division are drug addicts, with roughly 31% being women. The youth are particularly susceptible to drug addiction, as reported by the GOVERNMENT PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL SRINAGAR, where around 90% of drug abusers fall within the age group of 17-35 years. While the turmoil in the state has led many young people to turn to drugs, it is not the sole cause. Various studies conducted in the state have identified factors such as unemployment and relationship problems contributing to this issue.
The government has taken several measures to combat this problem, including the establishment of drug de-addiction centers across the Kashmir Valley, such as Srinagar, Baramulla, and Anantnag. These centers are staffed by clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, de-addiction social workers, counselors, and medical officers. Admission to these centers for detoxification and rehabilitation is granted only after an individual’s motivation and thorough medical evaluation. Typically, patients are admitted for a period of 3 to 4 weeks.
The daily routine for patients at these centers includes group sessions, morning sessions, and recreational activities like singing and dancing. Additionally, there is a comprehensive review of medical, psychological, and social interventions.
It’s essential to recognize that drugs are the adversaries of ambition and hope. When we combat drug abuse, we are fighting for a brighter future. Raising awareness is key, and with full public support and cooperation, law enforcement agencies can work more effectively to address this menace. Government agencies, educational institutions, NGOs, and other social organizations should focus on educating the younger generation about this problem.
Parents and caregivers also play a crucial role in tackling this issue by being vigilant and detecting problems early on. Drug addicts often experience isolation and a sense of alienation. Providing them with social and moral support can empower them to overcome this challenge.
A substantial body of literature suggests that enhancing social support and instilling positive behaviors in victims can help them break free from the grip of drug addiction. It’s vital to understand that drugs are not a symbol of coolness; instead, they lead to foolish choices and detrimental consequences.
(Writer can be reached at Zubairchowdhry58@gmail.com)