Irfan Attari Kashmiri
Drug abuse is a significant problem in many parts of the world, and the Kashmir region is no exception. In recent years, the issue of drug abuse in Kashmir has become a growing concern, affecting individuals and communities across the region.
Steep rise in the number of drug addicts
The problem of drug abuse in Kashmir is complex and multifaceted. The region’s proximity to major drug trafficking routes has made it a target for drug traffickers, who use the region as a transit point to smuggle drugs into neighboring countries. The availability of drugs such as heroin, cannabis, and prescription drugs has increased in recent years, leading to a rise in drug abuse among the population.
One of the major reasons for the high prevalence of drug abuse in Kashmir is the lack of economic opportunities and employment. Many young people in the region are unemployed, and some turn to drug use as a way to cope with their boredom and frustration. In the last few years, conflict and turmoil had created a sense of hopelessness and despair among the population. That had contributed to drug abuse.
The law and order situation has significantly improved in the last three years. But the old patterns of depression will take some time to heal.
Recent drug-related crime incidents have shaken society
Recent incidents, such as the case of a drug-addicted son allegedly strangling and killing his elderly mother in the Dangerpora area of Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, have further highlighted the urgent need to address this issue. This tragic incident serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of drug abuse and the need for immediate action to combat the problem.
The easy availability of drugs due to the proximity of the border with Pakistan and the lack of job opportunities have made the youth in Kashmir particularly vulnerable to drug addiction. The consequences of drug abuse are not limited to just physical and mental health but also have significant social and economic implications for the families of drug addicts.
We need more initiatives to combat drug abuse
The social stigma attached to drug abuse in Kashmir is another significant challenge. Many people who struggle with addiction are reluctant to seek help due to the shame and social isolation associated with drug use. This stigma also prevents community members from discussing the problem openly and seeking solutions to address it.
The government and civil society organizations have recognized the severity of the drug abuse problem in Kashmir and have implemented various initiatives to address it. These initiatives include awareness-raising campaigns, rehabilitation programs, and support for individuals and families affected by drug abuse.
However, the problem remains prevalent in many parts of the region, and more needs to be done to address it. It is essential to improve economic opportunities and employment prospects in the region, which can help to reduce the social and economic factors that contribute to drug abuse. There also needs to be more investment in drug treatment and rehabilitation services, including medication-assisted treatment, counseling, and mental health services.
NGOs can play a crucial role
Several NGOs such as the Foundation for Youth Web, Drug-Free Kashmir, and Tehreek-e-Naujawan are also playing a crucial role in combating drug abuse in Kashmir. These organizations are working tirelessly to create awareness about the dangers of drug addiction and provide support to those struggling with drug abuse.
Drug-Free World India, a global non-profit organization that provides education and resources to help young people make informed decisions and live drug-free lives, is supporting these organizations in their efforts to make Kashmir drug-free. The organization is providing its courses free of cost to these NGOs to help them educate young people about the dangers of drug abuse.
Through these efforts, the NGOs are reaching out to the youth of Kashmir and creating awareness about the consequences of drug addiction. By providing support and guidance to vulnerable groups, they are helping to prevent drug abuse and create a healthier and drug-free society.
The role of these NGOs is crucial in addressing the problem of drug abuse in Kashmir, and their efforts should be supported and encouraged by the government and civil society. By working together, we can hope to create a drug-free Kashmir and ensure a brighter future for the youth of the valley.
Drug abuse is a significant problem in Kashmir that requires a comprehensive and collaborative response from the government, civil society organizations, and community members. By addressing the root causes of drug abuse and providing support and treatment to those affected, we can work towards a drug-free future for the region.
(The Author is a Social Activist & President of Tehreek-e-Naujawan)