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Gul calls out JK govt’s failure to tackle addiction, substance abuse among youngsters

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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Friday expressed concern over the growing drug addiction and substance abuse in Jammu and Kashmir saying tackling the menace has become an uphill task for the incumbent JK government.

Drawing the attention of the government towards the alarming situation in the society about the increasing menace of drug addiction and substance abuse, Party’s Senior Leader and Former Legislative Assembly Speaker Mubarak Gul said in a statement that the untreated menace has entrapped the youth of Jammu and Kashmir physically, emotionally and mentally. “It is heart-wrenching to see our youth wallowing in substance abuse and illicit drug usage. I often receive complaints from across Kashmir, particularly Shar-e-Khas areas about how certain isolated pockets like graveyards, isolated buildings, college and school roundabouts have become hot spots of such illicit activity.  The scourge has seen a spike in the last few years on account of being left unattended to by the local law enforcement agencies. The youth can be freely seen congregating at such designated spots and indulge in drug abuse despite bringing such activities to the notice of police by the local populace. The menace has turned out to be an uphill task for the law enforcement agencies with the menace going on unabated and engulfing more youth to its deadly fold,” he said.

Lack of the cooperation of people, social taboos and sheer ignorance, Gul maintained is also compounding the problem. “It is high time that the society as a whole converge its efforts to nip the evil in the bud before it morphs on to become a major crisis as is seen in various other north Indian states. Religious leaders, school and college administration, parents and law enforcement all have to join hands to recover our youth from the possession of the menace. “Drug seizures have increased but why is it that people involved in the circulation of substances are not tried under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic substance (NDPS) act for peddling and smuggling of banned substances. It raises a big question mark on policing as well.  A strict policing would have certainly acted as a deterrent to such people. Deficiency of any policy framework to deal with the issue is further compounding the matter and giving it a free hand to destroy the future of our youth,” he added.

The administration has been dealing with opioid booms superficially by destroying the crops very often but has left the illicit trade and circulation take roots in colleges, schools and universities. “The issues requires thorough vigilance if the circulation part is to be halted. It could do by employing CCTV cameras to keep a watch at such designated spots. Local intelligence agencies can also provide vital inputs on the activities of mafia festering our society. The remedy also demands education, rehabilitation, counselling and preventive measures at school, college and university levels.  Religious and community leaders can use their sphere of influence to educate people about the menace,” he said.

The former legislature also stressed the need of bringing drug de-addiction under one umbrella of relevant departments such as health, police, education, sports and excises.

He impressed upon the law enforcement agencies to step up their surveillance of such designated areas notorious for such illicit and delinquent activity.

Gul also urged the district and divisional administration to have a virtual vigil on Schools, Colleges, graveyards, parks, and isolated places through CCTV cameras. He underscored the primary role of families in giving full emotional support to their wards to evade anxiety and depression.

“Government has a role to ensure recreational activities for kids so that they are able to vent their energy in a positive manner. NCC and Red cross can also provide our youth, a platform to vent their energies for the betterment of society,” he added.

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