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Towards A Drug Free Society

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Pulwama, once a hotspot for drugs is a different story now, courtesy Pulwama Police

Mudasir Dar

In a place that has been badly hit by the menace of drug addiction, a drug-free society is a dream for the public and a herculean task for those who are fighting from the front. The menace of drugs is growing exponentially in J&K, which has become a safe haven for the drug peddlers. Expansion of drugs is unsettling as it has been consuming the life of a young generation. The present generation of youth of Kashmir is deeply involved in the drug menace and the cycle seems unending. Illicit drugs like heroin, cocaine and brown sugar are easily available in the drug market. 90 percent of the patients enrolling themselves in drug de-addiction centers are taking heroin. Its damage is irreversible. As heroin is easily available and is taken with ease compared to other drugs which require more hard work. Youth are easily falling prey to it. People working to put halt on the menace of drugs in Kashmir say that heroin was ‘an easy and high drug’.

A recent study has revealed that Jammu & Kashmir has 6 lakh people involved in drug-related issue which is approximately 4.6 percent of its total population. Among them, 90 percent are in the age group of 17-33 years. Some people indulge in it without concern and even they tempt others into it. The circle of the drug dealers has become strong in the valley and the chain has been widened manifold.

The network of drug peddlers used to take refuge in different untraceable locations. They would operate from those hidden places involving the out-of-school young generation to carry their ‘trade’ who would consequently later become permanent drug addicts, thus contributing to the already growing trade of drugs within the district. The worrying sign was the others in the peer group were too inclined to drug addiction. To save the precious lives, someone had to make an entry and show courage and eradicate this menace and wipe out the chain of drug dealers from the district. And none other than Police could do this tremendous work as it has huge network and many mechanisms of ascertaining facts. The role of the police is to eradicate the evil from the society and Pulwama Police through its able officers heading the district made sure that Pulwama can’t be a haven for drug addiction and drug-peddling.

The current police officials in the district are relentless and determined to curb he menace and the results are already the talk of the town as there drug related are seizures and arrested reported each day. Applauds and gratitude across the sections of society for Pulwama police is the parallel word we hear nowadays. From civil societies, activists to journalists and common people, praise for police for this commendable job has become a routine here now.

A district where violence consumed a young generation and drugs were about to consume the rest, it is certainly a great thing to see a war being waged against drugs here. Arresting drug peddlers and contraband substances throughout the district is in itself a record. Pulwama once hotspot is now hell for drug peddlers courtesy Pulwama Police.

The biggest worry was the easy availability of these illicit drugs in the district. The drug abusers say that from cocaine to heroin to brown sugar, everything was available over a phone call. This menace has also led to an increase in the crime rate in some areas of the district. Now after tackling and disfiguring the drug business that was increasing manifold in the district, those who are addicted to drugs have moved to Shopain and other districts as they can’t get them within Pulwama anymore.

In a recent unfortunate case, Pulwama police arrested a doctor in a drug trafficking case. He was involved in supplying drugs in the district. It goes on to say as to what extent the drug issue had spread its roots. In 2020, Pulwama police registered more than 70 FIRs under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act which is the highest among the districts across Jammu & Kashmir. More than 100 drug peddlers were arrested under the same Act as well. Pulwama tops the list of most recoveries under the NDPS list. Police under the supervision of officers like SSP Jeelani has achieved this feat in a short period of time, yet more actions to prevent drug abuse in the future must not be underestimated.

To completely eradicate drug abuse lies in the cooperation of common people with the police. Police have long before started a war against drugs we must ensure our full support to them. Moreover, the establishment of Drug De-Addiction, Rehabilitation, and Counseling Centers by J&K police and other concerned citizens of the valley has done wonders in rehabilitating and counseling drug addicts.  Rehabilitation is the best way to stem the drug menace. Synergy among different organisations and unconditional support from them is the most appropriate course to bring it to a halt.

Schools, tuition centers shall lead from the front as most of the youth are attached to them. Public outreach programs on drug addiction, conferences, and different types of activities can help us to combat it quickly. Schools can play a pivotal role in propagating knowledge about drugs and grounding their irretrievable impact on the youth. Parents, share a major role in curbing the menace. They must keenly observe any changes in the behavioral pattern of their children and immediately respond to the same, lest it turns to be the case of drug abuse/addiction. A soft approach can be employed to make drug users get rid of drugs. We can identify them in our society without too much effort. The consequences and harm of taking drugs can be exposed to them so that they can shake off them easily. Our actions should not antagonize them nor we should alienate them for taking drugs; our ultimate motives should be to liberate our society free from the drug menace. We can contribute together to rehabilitate drug users and contain drugs spread immediately.

(The author is a socio-political Activist and can be reached at [email protected])

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