Drugs Abuse & Kashmir – It is frightening

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A national daily, The Indian Express has published a report regarding the drug abuse in Kashmir. The well researched report is alarming as well as disturbing. As per the report, since March 2022 to March 2023, 41,110 patients have visited SMHS Hospital’s Drug De-addiction Centre. Numbers are frightening. These suggest that the Centre receives one addict every 12 minutes, not to mentions the addicts that have been turning to such facilities in other districts. During the period, 240 kg of heroin has been seized, 2,756 drug peddlers arrested.

In these columns, the menace of drug abuse and drug trafficking has been discussed umpteenth times, even to the extent of sounding repetitive, but the crisis in the society is so serious that it needs this repetitiveness. It is satisfactory to note that the government is working on the issue seriously and JK Police too has been working tirelessly to deal with the issue. It is because of these efforts that huge quantities of contraband drugs are being seized almost every day and traffickers are being apprehended.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. 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 and people have to understand that presence of drugs and drug abusers gives birth to all kinds of crimes.

When it comes to drug abuse and trafficking, nobody can miss Abhishek Chaubey’s Udta Punjab, a controversial movie but enlightening. It is loosely based on and revolves around the drug abuse by the young population in Punjab and the various conspiracies surrounding it. Watching daily reportage of Kashmir based local dailies, regarding drug abuse and drug trafficking, it sounds very logical to make a cry – a cry to save Kashmir’s future generation – and the cry being – Udta Kashmir. Though the administration is making tall claims to make Nasha Mukt J&K, need is to do some introspection on official level too and try to find out that how a drug racket of this magnitude is deepening its roots here. Officers in Police with integrity have to dig bit deeper and try to find out the black sheep within the administration and their own organisation to identify the loopholes in countering the menace.

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