Int’l Day against drug abuse
Drug abuse is a serious problem that has plagued enormous proportions of the population in the world. According to the UN, it claims lives of almost 200,000 people annually. To garner support from the countries and stimulate action against this scourge, June 26 is observed as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. This year’s theme was “Listen First”, which is an initiative for prevention of drug abuse that is based on science and aims at creating awareness in individuals and communities about adverse impacts of this issue.
In Pakistan, the statistics of drug abusers are alarmingly high, as 7 million people are suffering from this menace according to the figures released by ANF. The number is snowballing and speaks volumes about the gravity of this social issue that is threatening our social fabric. We need to adopt comprehensive and effective strategies to cope with the problem of drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
In Pakistan, socio-economic indicators present quite an unsatisfactory picture, which compels many people to choose a path of drugs in order to find a temporary escape from their problems. Poverty and unemployment are basic reasons entangling a person into the web of depression and stresses. This depression is the trigger that pushes vulnerable ones into the dark world of drugs. Moreover, peer pressure and easy access to the prescription drugs like tranquillisers and sedatives are also the primary reasons of increased drugs and substance abuse.
It is a cause of deep concern that Pakistan is a transit route and market of the smuggled drugs. The 2,230 km long border with Afghanistan - which is the chief country for the production of poppy plant - is the main route from where drug trafficking occurs in Pakistan. 70% of Pakistan’s smuggled drugs enter from Afghanistan. This illicit drug trafficking is not only taking more people into the fold of drug abuse/addiction, but also blighting Pakistan’s economy. Moreover, these drug smuggling networks utilize their ill-gotten money for the anti-state activities, like terrorism.
Drug abusers not only put their own life at stake, but become a burden on their families and the country. It is worrisome that in Pakistan, drug culture is fast taking pace in academic institutions. Moreover, the percentage of women drug abusers is quickly rising. It is important that on this day, Pakistan pledges to work on war footing on this important issue. Healthy activities for the youth, like sports must be encouraged to channelize their energies in a positive direction. As the number of drug addicts increases with every passing day, there is a need for more rehabilitation centres to make them able to rejoin social life.
Parents must keep vigilance on the activities and routine of their children. Academic institutions must enforce stringent checks on students taking drugs. Media, civil society, academicians and NGOs need to scale up their efforts to spread more and more awareness about drugs. ANF officials are doing laudable efforts to nab the drug cartels. But all in all, these are the collective efforts by all tiers of society that would prevent drug culture to take roots in the country. — Via email