Author ZEENAT ZEESHAN FAZIL – Saturday, June 26, 2015 09:53
Efforts to curb it are only half-hearted even at its best!
Srinagar, June 19: Kashmir, the “Earth’s Paradise” has turned into a virtual heaven for drug addicts with increasing number of young people falling prey to substance abuse in Valley.
Even though the police, almost on daily basis, informs about the seizure of drugs by its men during raids and ‘naka’ checkings, however, as the common sense has it bulk of drugs make it to the end-users (addicts) without much hassles while only a little percentage of the actual quantity of drugs in circulation is seized by the police.
Obviously then, the amount of seizures by the police is also, in some measure, an indicator of the extent and expanse of growing drug abuse in the Valley.
The figures compiled by J&K Police reveal that in 2014, in Awantipora area of south Kashmir, police recovered 22 kgs of powdered ‘bhang’, 30 kgs of ‘Fukki’ 30 kg , 68 bottles of cough syrups containing sedatives like codeine phosphate and caffeine, 2616 Spasmoproxivan tablets 2616 and 356 Alprazolam tablets.
Similarly, in Kulgam, 42 kgs of fukki, 401 kgs of poppy straw, 1 kg and 350 gm of cannabis were recovered by the cops last year.
In Pulwama, 31 kg and 845 grams of cannabis, 200 gms of cannabis dust, 47 kg poppy, 117 kg and 500 gm ‘bhung dust’, were recovered.
In north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, around 11 kgs of brown sugar, 29 bottles of different cough syrups were recovered.
In district Ganderbal, 800 grams of cannabis, 12 bottles of cough syrups and 26.5 kgs of hemp were recovered.
Similarly, Railway Kashmir (Police Station GRP, Sgr) recovered 1 kg and 900 gms of ‘charas’ dust and 9 kgs of poppy straw.
In Handwara area of north Kashmir, police recovered around 3 kg and 400 grams of cannabis last year while in Sopore police recovered around 573 bottles of different cough syrups 647 Alprazolam tablets, and 16 intoxicating capsules.
In Bandipora, police recovered 850 gram of cannabis, 300grams of brown sugar, 216 bottles of cough syrups, and 3520 capsules of Spasmoproxivon.
Social activist, Abdul Rashid Hanjoora adds, “Now, one can imagine how much quantity of illegal crop must have gone outside the state, this is just a tip of an iceberg as what have been seized by the concerned authorities.
“Best way to curb the menace is that government needs to play clever; it must destroy narcotic crops in the early stages so that it doesn’t grow further. Concerned department can stop this illegal activity by seizing the land of those involved in the trade and of course without land illegal crop cultivators have no other option but to discontinue with it,” says an expert.
Experts say there are various reasons for drug addiction, but one of the main causes is the high level of stress among the people.
“This is a direct consequence of the conflict,” says sociologist Dr. Bashir Ahmed Dabla.
“The problem as it is today emerged in the mid-nineties when conflict was at its peak. The biggest toll of the conflict was the psyche of the people. Most of the addicts here took to drugs not for the thrill, but to relieve stress,” he says.
“Sleeping pill addiction is very dangerous,” says he, adding that it often leads to other addictions. “Doctors are also responsible since they prescribe medicinal opioids, addictive pain killers, etc., freely here,” Dabla adds.
Noted psychiatrist Dr. Mushtaq Marghoob said, “There is no doubt that there is a surge in drug addiction cases in the valley. It has reached the worst level. Opiate medicinal preparations as well as heroin abuse have become the most serious problem in Kashmir over the past few years.”
According to him, failure of authorities to prevent the accessibility to prescription drugs as well as the high levels of anxiety found among the populace because of the political instability and unemployment are the main reasons behind the current “prescription drug addiction”.
“It is very easy to get medicines