Syed Irfan Hashmi
Drug addiction is a growing problem in Kashmir, with reports suggesting that there has been a significant increase in drug abuse in the region over the past few years. According to a survey conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2018, around 2.3% of the population of Jammu and Kashmir (which includes the Kashmir Valley) is addicted to drugs.
The reasons for the increase in drug addiction in Kashmir are complex and multifaceted. One factor is the region’s proximity to Afghanistan, which is the world’s largest producer of opium, the raw material used to make heroin. The porous borders between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Pakistan and India, make it easy for drugs to be smuggled into Kashmir.
Another factor is the high levels of unemployment and poverty in the region, which can lead to a sense of hopelessness and despair that makes people more vulnerable to drug addiction. There is also a lack of awareness and education about the dangers of drug abuse, and a shortage of treatment facilities and rehabilitation centers for those who are struggling with addiction. Decline in moral values in past few decades is also behind it .
Present government, J&K Police, local administration and civil society organisations in Kashmir are working to address the problem of drug addiction through a variety of measures, including awareness campaigns, increased law enforcement efforts to crack down on drug trafficking, and the establishment of more treatment and rehabilitation centers. However, much more needs to be done to tackle this growing problem and provide support to those who are suffering from addiction. It is also the responsibility of every citizen to crackdown against the drugs. The responsibility of every parent to take immediate and positive precautions towards their children to prevent them from drug abuse.
Preventing drug addiction is key to tackling this issue. Here are some prevention strategies that can help:
Educating people about the dangers of drugs and their impact on health and society is essential in preventing drug addiction. This includes educating young people about the risks of drug use and empowering them to make informed decisions.
Strong relationships with family, friends, and community can provide a sense of purpose and belonging, which can protect against drug addiction.
Mental health support
Providing support and treatment for mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and trauma can help prevent drug addiction. These conditions can sometimes lead to drug use as a way of self-medicating.
Access to resources
Access to education, job opportunities, and other resources can help prevent drug addiction by providing individuals with a sense of purpose and stability.
Strict enforcement of drug laws and regulations can help prevent drug addiction by reducing the availability and accessibility of drugs.
Treatment and rehabilitation
Providing access to treatment and rehabilitation services for individuals who are struggling with addiction can help prevent drug addiction by providing support and resources to overcome the addiction.
Preventing drug addiction requires a comprehensive approach that involves education, awareness, enforcement, and support. By implementing these strategies, we can work towards reducing drug addiction and the harm it causes to individuals and communities.
Lastly, the most important thing is to ensure harshest possible punishment for drug peddlers so that it acts effective deterrent against drug peddlers and suppliers.
(The author can be reached at [email protected])
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