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Drugs destroying valley

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Jammu and Kashmir is on the verge of topping the list of places in India that have the highest cases of drug abuse. Given the statistics provided by the law enforcing agencies as well as department of narcotics, one can imagine how rapidly the trend is picking up and it is high time that we, in whatever way, must step up to discourage this trend.

Drug abuse refers to the use of toxic or banned drugs or to the inappropriate use of a legal drug or substance such as alcohol, opioids (poppy straw), heroin, nicotine, morphine, cannabis (bhung), prescription drugs or inhalants (paints, glues, sprays, ink fluid ). All medications (drug to treat a disease as per established medical guidelines) are drugs (a chemical substance that can alter the structure and function of the body), but all drugs are not medications.

Drug addiction is a complex brain disease. Its prevention effectively requires understanding the biological, genetic, social, psychological, religious and environmental factors that predispose individuals to drug addiction. Abuse becomes addiction with the constant or continued use of a drug. The addicted ones continue to take drugs despite negative consequences.

Drug addiction is on rise in J&K especially in the Kashmir valley. One of the recent survey’s reveals that most of the abusers are in the age group of 18 to 35. This addiction has assumed the magnitude of a silent epidemic in our state which, in turn, is responsible for an increase in crimes, moral degradation, lower participation in socio-political and economic activities.

J&K Police in one of its findings revealed that 1132 drug cases were registered during the year 2020 and more than 150 kgs of heroine, 560 kgs of charas, 22000 kgs of Opium / Poppy / Cannabis , 330000 Capsules, 57000 Intoxicating Bottles and 250 Intoxication Injections were seized during the year. In one of its report published by local newspapers, police revealed that on each day 40 habitual abusers were visiting Mental Hospital Rainawari for treatment. During the current year, in the month of January alone, 140 persons, the first time drug abusers, came to the hospital for medical assistance. As per the National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences, 60 % abusers have 10+2 qualification, 20 % are Graduates and 10 % are Post graduates . This shows the alarming situation that is silently brewing in our state. If we fail to address it properly at the earliest, it can lead to a catastrophe.

Islam also discourages everything which is addictive and also bans intoxicants even in small amounts. Drugs, such as marijuana, heroine, cannabis (Charas), Cocaine, Opium and the like are definitely included in the prohibited category. It is well known that the use of such drugs affects the sensory perceptions and alters ones idea of reality. The moral consequences, moral insensitivity, weakening of the will-power, and negligence of responsibilities are dreadful results of drug addiction.

Drug addicts gradually lose control over themselves and fail to maintain any specific amount or quantity of the drugs that they consume. As such, they keep on adding to the amount and end up losing everything- family, friends, social peers and above all health.  The lack of purchasing power often leads them to commit crimes including murders in order to manage their drugs. Drug addiction does not merely cause short-term changes in an individual’s cognitive skill and behavior but leave an impact that stays life-long.

One of the first changes in the brain that may occur in response to repeated drug abuse is intolerance. Intolerance develops when a person needs increasing doses of a drug to achieve the same high or rush that previously resulted from a lower dose. In addition to that, drug abuse puts people at higher risks of other health problems also.

Injection drug users (IDUs) are at higher risk of getting HIV through the sharing of potentially contaminated needles. Similarly hepatitis B and C are much more common among drug addicted people than the general population. It is a well known fact that otherwise safe medications can turn harmful if abused or taken without prescription or supervision.

In short every individual especially religious preachers, teachers, police, judiciary, local Auqaf or welfare Committees etc. must play a vibrant role towards eradication of this menace. Keeping in view the horrendous consequences of drug addiction, let us all make efforts, in whatever way we can, to end this menace and save our society.

(Author can be reached at parraybilal2@gmail.com)

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