In the picturesque Kashmir valley, a new and deadly scourge is wreaking havoc: heroin addiction. Over the past decade, the number of people addicted to the drug has skyrocketed, causing a surge in crime and social decay. The problem of drug abuse in Kashmir is not new. For years, the region has been a transit point for drugs coming from Afghanistan, which are then smuggled into other parts of India. However, in recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the use of heroin, which has become the drug of choice for many. The reasons for this are manifold. The conflict in Kashmir has created a sense of hopelessness and despair among many young people, who see little prospect for a better future. Unemployment is high, and opportunities for education and career development are limited. In this environment, drugs have become a means of escape and a way to cope with the daily stresses of life. The problem is compounded by the fact that heroin is readily available, and dealers are always looking for new customers. This has led to a situation where addiction is rampant, with users becoming physically and psychologically dependent on the drug. The consequences of heroin addiction are devastating. Users suffer from a range of health problems, including respiratory and cardiovascular disease, liver and kidney damage, and infections such as HIV and hepatitis. They also experience a range of psychological symptoms, including anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Many become unable to function normally, unable to work, care for their families, or contribute to society in any meaningful way. The impact on families is equally devastating. Parents are forced to watch as their children become slaves to the drug, spending all their money on the next fix and neglecting their responsibilities. Siblings and spouses are left to pick up the pieces, often having to support the addict financially and emotionally.
The government of India has taken steps to address the problem, including setting up Addiction Treatment Facilities and launching awareness campaigns. However, these efforts have had limited success, in part because of the stigma attached to drug addiction in Indian society. Many addicts are reluctant to seek help for fear of being ostracized or discriminated against.
In the end, the only solution is a multifaceted approach that addresses the root causes of drug addiction in Kashmir. This must include efforts to create economic opportunities for young people, improve education and healthcare, and address the ongoing conflict in the region. Only by working together can we hope to break the cycle of addiction and build a better future for the people of Kashmir.
About writer : The author is Data Manager at Addiction Treatment Facility, Government Medical College, Anantnag. He can be reached at [email protected]
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