Int’l Day against drug abuse

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - F FAIZ AKEHA

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.