The menace of drug addiction in the valley of Kashmir has hit to its peak during the last decade and the youth of Kashmir have failed to overcome its challenges. The issues of unemployment, constant lockdowns, and lack of opportunities have added to the usual struggles of a common man.
Drug addiction is increasing by leaps and bounds in the valley. For the last few years, the substances used for drug addiction have also changed and nowadays lot more harmful substances are being used. Cannabis, heroin, opium, and hashish are the most commonly used drugs in after alcohol and tobacco. However, some evidence indicates that there is an increasing prevalence of methamphetamine as well. Drug users are mainly young and predominately male.
The constant increase in substance abuse can be estimated by the following statistics. During the year 2014-2015, 694 patients were treated for drug addiction in the OPD of DDC, SMHS, while 119 people were admitted to the IPD. This number increased to 3999 patients in OPD and 710 in IPD, during the year 2017-2018.
Lately, the use of heroin has increased to a large extend. Out of the people treated at DDC, SMHS and DDC, IMHANS, 35% were addicted to heroin (2018-2019). Adding to this problem, the society of Kashmir despite its conservative nature has seen a tremendous raise in the number of female addicts.
Most people involved in drug addiction or substance abuse are from the age group of 20-27. According to some studies, people with educational qualification of 10 2 are most affected. There are many reasons for these changes in the drug profile of the valley.
Talking about a few, during the last decade, the youth here have gone through many problems due to prevailing political situation. The volatile political atmosphere has hit the psychological state of the young population at large. Drug abuse is a global phenomenon, affecting almost every country, but its extent and characteristics differ from region to region.
The valley of Kashmir too is caught in this vicious circle of drug abuse, and the numbers of drug addicts are increasing day by day. The unending political unrest has consumed thousands of innocent lives so far.
The mental state of a drug addict is quite different from a normal person. Drug addicts find themselves more and more trapped in mental health problems. Finding it difficult to talk to their near ones due to the taboo associated with mental disorders here, they end up ruining their lives. Unfortunately, the government, society, and the parents find it easy to put the blame on the addicts so that they remain unaccountable. But they are much more responsible for the destruction of their children than the children themselves.
The older generation is not able to fathom the mental stress that the youth of Kashmir are facing. Sometimes people use drugs as an escape route or to cope with the stress. Drug addiction has become a worldwide problem and the leading cause of death. The global problem of addiction and drug abuse is responsible for millions of deaths and millions of new cases of HIV every year. In recent years, J&K is seeing a rising trend in drug addiction. The most common use of drug is alcohol, followed by cannabis and opiates.
Drug use, whether licit or illicit, causes serious health problems in individuals. The National level survey conducted on drug use in India indicated that prevalence of drug abuse among males in the general population is significant. Drug abuse among women exists. Despite the fact that more men use drugs than women, the impact of drug use tends to be greater on women, because women lack access to care for drug dependence.
Economic burden disturbed family environment, violence, and psychological problems are other consequences of drug abuse in the family. Adolescent drug abuse is another major area of concern because more than half of the person's with substance use disorder are introduced to drugs before the age of 15 years.
Adding insult to the injury, many local political parties in the past played a major role in the continuous rise of drug addiction. Majority of these local parties used political power for their personal gains only that spread nepotism across the length and breadth of bureaucracy in our erstwhile state.
The right to equal opportunity was snatched from the hands of a common man. In all this process, a common young man in Kashmir found no other support, but drugs. Furthermore, the people of Kashmir have not seen much development so far, that resulted in disappointment among the youths giving rise to drug addiction. The consumption of drugs can be stopped if their selling and consumption is put to an end.
We must know how to nip this evil in the bud. We all know that it’s not easy to stop drug addiction completely anywhere down the line. Instead of boycotting drug addicts, people have to accept them and help them to get out of this dangerous situation.
Keeping society aside, the parents of drug addicts can play the most important role in the lives of drug addicts by counseling them at an appropriate time. Illicit drug abuse not only affects the health and lives of individuals but also undermines the political, social, and cultural foundation of all countries. Problems of drug dependence produce dramatic costs to all societies in terms of lost productivity, transmission of infectious diseases, family and social disorder, crime, and excessive utilization of health care. The picture is grim if the statistics on the drugs scenario is taken into account.
This is the high time that concerned authorities, parents and our society as a whole should work together and join hands to get the drug dealers out of the system.
New policies and stronger legislation is the need of the hour. Drug addiction is a severe problem that devastates many families. Drug addicts need to be cured, they need to be rehabilitated, and above all this, they need to be given maximum opportunities to lead better lives once they recover.