Fighting the menace of drug abuse
With every passing day the drug abuse and trafficking is emerging as the biggest challenge that Kashmir society is face to face with. Watching daily reportage of Kashmir based local dailies, regarding drug abuse and drug trafficking, the situation is very dangerous as more and more people, particularly the youth, are falling to this menace. The amount of drugs that is seized by the police almost every day is an indication that the menace has taken deep roots in the society. The society should understand the challenges of the menace and fight against it and it would be undoubtedly worth if religious leaders and community heads engage with the youth and make them realize the dangers of the drug abuse and trafficking. Though there is no statistical data available to show the exact number of drug addicts in the Valley, reports pouring in on daily basis regarding arrests related to drug trafficking, seizure of contraband drugs, besides the records of drug de-addiction centres are enough to indicate that the problem is graver than what is seen superficially. Though a lot is being written and said about the issue and the concerned government agencies are trying their best to help the addicts to overcome the menace and start their lives afresh, the menace continues to grow in size with every passing day. Fact of the matter is that drug trafficking and abuse can’t be dealt only with official machinery, few social organization and doctors alone. It needs a strong and collective response from the citizenry. People need to understand that those who grow bhang in their agricultural farms and those who pump in heroine and brown sugar into Kashmir are the worst enemies of Kashmiris. They may be earning money while doing so but that money is being earned at the cost of the health and lives of Kashmiri youth. It is high time that people wake up to this disaster in making and fight the battle against drug trafficking. Religious leaders, particularly the Imams of Masjids can play a vital role in fighting this battle. Every Friday, the Imams lead congregational prayers and give sermons about various issues. People listen to them, respect them and their word has an impact. Let these Imams talk about the menace during these sermons. Let them make people aware about the disastrous outcome of the menace. It is heartening to note that the divisional administration has started involving religious leaders in its efforts to counter the drug abuse and trafficking. The mohalla and village elders too need to play their role. As responsible citizens they should keep an eye on their respective areas and if they find someone involved in such crimes, they should take help from law enforcing agencies to stop the crime. Kashmir’s civil society too needs to wake up and make the talk of narcotics part of public discourse. The battle has to start from every household. Parents need to have close communication with their children so that they can easily notice any behavioral change in them that may be an indication that the children have chosen some wrong path. It is a battle that is to be fought by one and all. Any delay or complacency would prove disastrous for the society as a whole.