Srinagar, Jun 26: While J&K government has been pro-active to destroy cannabis and poppy cultivation, the real menace which has engulfed Jammu and Kashmir lately is the consumption of heroin and brown sugar that largely goes unchecked in the erstwhile state.
An official said that earlier youth from only few areas were getting involved in drugs but now the entire Kashmir has become a hub of drug addiction and locals especially youth is falling prey to it.
“There is a thriving trade of drugs–heroin and brown sugar- which are prepared in laboratories elsewhere, and are making their way into Kashmir,” an official said.
“The situation is very grim, as of 10 drug addicts, nine are using heroin,” an official said.
Locals from Sangam-Litter belt in South Kashmir said that drugs are available like cigarettes and drug addicts can now avail any kind of drug which is available in other parts of India.
“The police is arresting the low profile drug peddlers but the trade of drugs mostly heroin, brown sugar and spasmoproxyvom capsules in which big babus are involved are being let go free,” locals said.
Locals from Waghma, Dupatyar, Arwani, Hassanpora, Litter, Watchi, Safanagar and dozens of other villages of Kashmir said that it is becoming difficult for the women to move outside their residences alone as group of drug addicts belonging to different parts of Kashmir are always roaming around to buy the drugs.
“The drug traders and addicts roam freely in the area due to which common people are facing a lot of inconveniences,” they said.
Shabir Ahmed (name changed) a youth from Srinagar says that he often visit Sangam belt, a hub of drugs to get his dose.
“I have been visiting the place since 2016 as in Srinagar herion and other drugs are costlier,” he said, adding that four packets of herion costs him Rs 3,000 here, while in Srinagar the cost is around Rs 7,000.
Shabir alleged that he often pays bribe to officials at several check points to go without any frisking.
Locals from different areas of South central and North Kashmir said that drug trade is flourishing in valley only due to the support of officials, mainly by enforcement agencies.
“If enforcement agencies will work honestly on ground, it is not a difficult to curb this menace,” they said.
“The enforcement agencies must learn from SDPO Awantipora Choudhary Ajaz, who have really worked hard on ground and has controlled this menace in the area to great extend,” locals said.
“We cannot see our youth becoming drug addicts. Youth are assets of nation as they have to shoulder responsibilities in every field of society. Those dealing with drugs should be booked under Public Safety Act,” they said.
According to the monitoring drug trend, a large number of teenage girls and women have also turned to substance abuse in the Valley.
The United Nations International Drug Control Programme Survey in 2008, has found that of 70,000 drug addicts in Kashmir, 4,000 were females.
Females are also now felling prey to drugs like spasmoproxyvom capsule, sleeping pills, fluid, whitener, boot polish, fuki, charas etc
Officials said that the heroin addicts admitted in the drug de-addiction center are dying on regular basis due to herion use (capsule or injectable) however most of the deaths went unreported.
“Young people abusing herion are either brought dead to hospitals or they die in intensive care units undiagnosed because the families hide their story of drug abuse,” an official said.
One of the health officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, alleges the government enforcement destroying cultivations of cannabis and poppy is nothing but a fraud.
“If the administration really wants to destroy such cultivations, they would do it in the seasons of sowing and not during when it ripe,” an official said.
A police officer on the condition of anonymity, acknowledged enforcement agency failure to address the drug problem and attributed it to the force’s preoccupation with law and order.
“Why the police are not able to restrict the circulation of drugs has a lot to do with their constant involvement in the law and order problems that Kashmir has no dearth of,” he said.
However, he said that constant efforts are being made to curb the drug menace and public has to play important role in it.