In the current social landscape of Kashmir, drug and substance abuse has emerged as a major societal issue, particularly among the youth who make up a significant portion of the population.
By Mir Tanveer
For decades, the people of Kashmir valley have been living through turbulent times, facing a range of challenging issues on a daily basis. From political instability to socio-economic struggles, individuals of all ages have been impacted by the difficult conditions. Unfortunately, the mental health of many individuals, including young people, has suffered as a result, leading to a rise in stress, anxiety, and depression. Despite the challenges, people have been working hard to overcome these issues, and their stories of resilience and perseverance offer inspiration to all. Grappling With Drug Abuse
In the current social landscape of Kashmir, drug and substance abuse has emerged as a major societal issue, particularly among the youth who make up a significant portion of the population. The prevalence of drug addiction is rapidly increasing in the valley, with a sharp rise in the number of substance abusers. According to medical experts, drug addiction is a neuropsychological disorder characterized by a persistent and intense urge to engage in certain behaviors, such as drug use, despite the negative consequences and harm caused. Unfortunately, a significant number of young people in Kashmir are caught up in drug abuse, with a range of underlying reasons, from seeking temporary pleasure to failed relationships to unemployment. The consequences are severe and far-reaching, posing a serious threat to the well-being of individuals and the broader society.
Recent research conducted by the Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Science Kashmir (IMHNAS) has revealed a concerning trend in the valley, with the number of drug abuse cases surpassing those in Punjab. The survey, entitled “Prevalence and Pattern of Substance Use in 10 Districts of Kashmir (2022),” highlighted heroin as the primary substance used, followed by cocaine, brown sugar, and cannabis. Shockingly, the report revealed that the majority of abusers were aged between 17-33, representing a significant proportion of the cream age group population of society.
According to a report published, it was revealed that there are approximately 70,000 drug abusers in the region, of which 52,000 are heroin users, including young girls.
In another report published by a leading daily newspaper in Kashmir, it was revealed that there are approximately 70,000 drug abusers in the region, of which 52,000 are heroin users, including young girls. These reports paint a bleak picture of the state of affairs in our society. However, health institutions such as the Community Health Officer in Budgam District are working tirelessly to address the issue. They are organizing programs related to drug addiction and providing mass educational programs about the harmful impact of drug abuse at the grassroots level. Dr. Arif Maghrib Khan, a specialist consultant in mental health working with an NGO, has highlighted the sharp rise in drug addiction cases, particularly involving heroin abuse. The situation demands urgent attention and effective measures to combat the menace of drug abuse.
Rehabilitation of drug abuse victims is the need of the hour, and society must come together without any discriminatory approach to provide them with the necessary support and care to reintegrate them into a normal routine. Measures must be taken to end this menace in our society, which depends on several factors, including active parental care, the establishment of rehabilitation centers across the valley, and proper medical care and counseling for victims. Parents need to take their children’s behavior seriously, both at home and outside. Educational institutions must play a role in creating awareness and building cooperation to eradicate this evil from our society. Simultaneously, law enforcement agencies must take strict action against drug dealers and suppliers in the distribution line to make drugs less accessible to substance users in the valley. These measures will help deal with the deeply rooted menace and minimize it in our society.
Law enforcement agencies must work towards building an effective network mechanism to eradicate the growing menace of substance abuse in our society, which involves multiple stakeholders. It is imperative to raise our voice against this grave issue of drug menace in our society to safeguard the young generation and channelize their talents for the betterment of the society in various fields of life.
Strict implementation of laws and punishment is essential without any leniency, to ensure that the involved persons in this crime are not able to escape from the deserved punishment. It is the responsibility of all members of the society to unite against this growing evil, which is shattering our future assets. We must act before it is too late and make the society free from substance abuse collectively.
Recently, the Lieutenant Governor of J&K stated that serious action will be taken against all those who are spreading this menace in our society, and the administration will put their best efforts to make J&K a drug-free region. It is crucial to make the eradication of substance abuse a collective concern of all members of society to ensure a better future for generations to come.