Drug addiction is often a result of willful misuse of drugs. It is a progression from impulsive to compulsive behavior, ending in chronic health issue wherein the addict may relapse in due course of treatment. Many people do not understand why or how people get addicted to drugs. People often think that drug users don’t abide by moral principles. Actually people don’t know that drug addiction is a complex disease and quitting takes more than good intentions and a strong will.
It is difficult to predict whether a person will be addicted to drugs or not. The risk for addiction is influenced by a number of factors such as age or stage of development, relationships, interpersonal conflict, depression caused by the loss of a person, lower socioeconomic status, unemployment and social environment. All these risk factors collectively cause stress (chronic) that has a negative impact. Stress disrupts almost every system in human body. It can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, disturb your digestive system, suppress your immune system and can leave you more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.
The turmoil which is going on from last 70 years has taken a heavy toll on the people of Kashmir. As much as 45 per cent of the population in Kashmir valley is suffering from mental distress, reveals a survey conducted by international humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
A study done by Nuzhat Firdous in 2015 has revealed the prevalence rate of depression to be (55.72%), where depression has been seen more prevalent (66.67%) in the 15-25 years age group, followed by (65.33%) in the 26 -35 years age group. In addition to this, drug addiction in Kashmir has reached to a level that it has become a serious concern to all. Studies comparing the prevalence of drug/substance misuse pre and post-conflict reveals that the use of substances is increasing and particularly use of alcohol has increased by 30% and multiple substances from 15% to 41%. In an article it has been reported that in Kashmir 40 percent of the youngsters fall prey to drug abuse which includes both boys and girls in the age group between 16-25 years. According to a study conducted by United Nation Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) there are 70,000 drug addicts in Kashmir division alone including 4000 women. The survey also revealed that 65% to 70% drug users are students. Ninety percent of the drug addict patients in the hospitals are of the age group 17-35 years.
The growing rate of drug abuse in Jammu and Kashmir has posed serious challenges to the people of the state in general and government agencies, non-governmental organisations in particular. If the prevailing environment cannot be changed, Kashmir will become a hell for people. Therefore, the need of hour is to educate people about the dark side of the drug abuse. Besides that the limited facilities available for rehabilitation of drug addicts need to be improved and increased. There should be proper check on the trafficking and sale of drugs within the state. Finally, if we want to see stress and drug-free Kashmir, the conflict must end.