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Its Udta Kashmir: Rising number of drug addicts in valley is scary

Over the past few years, Kashmir is witnessing a rise in drug addiction making it a new enemy for locals. There has been a significant increase in heroin addicts in Kashmir.

As per TRT World, 26 year old Zaira is in her eight month of pregnancy. Before giving delivery to her second child she wants to get rid of heroin addiction. Zaira’s husband is also a heroin addict but both of them took drugs separately with no impact on each other. They got married after a few years of falling in love with each other but their families did not support their marriage. Nadeem’s drug addiction left him financially unstable and soon became a burden on family. Also he started to show disrespect to his wife.

Zaira was left with no support and was getting mentally drained but she started to work in a local parlor to help her husband. Mistreatment by her in-laws and hard life exhausted her so much that she took a shot of heroin offered to her by her colleagues. Zaira told her doctor at the hospital that she felt relieved after taking it as if all her problems just flew away and she became habitual.

A family member at Srinagar’s Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (IMHANS) said that Zaira was forced to work at a local beauty parlor to support her husband financially.

After getting addicted towards heroin her colleagues kept asking for money to give her shot of heroin.

Drugs in Kashmir is brought in through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and the money is mostly used in narco-terrorism. There have been cases where drugs from Punjab was also smuggled into the valley.

Zaira’s doctor Fazl’e Roub who has a doctorate in de-addiction psychology said that it is common to hear such incidences every day. Zaira is on a detox program hoping to get rid of her addiction. Roub indicated that the rising number of drug addicts in Kashmir is a harsh reality and compared the region’s data with Punjab.

The population of Jammu and Kashmir is 12.5 million while Punjab’s population is 28.9 million. While Punjab has 70,000 heroin addicts, there are 16389 opioid users, most of them use heroin, in just two districts Srinagar and Anantnag of J&K as per survey done by IMHANS.

In the past few years the problem of drug addiction has been on rise. Dr Arshid Hussain, a senior psychiatrist and professor at Srinagar’s Government Medical College told TRT World that as the violence subsided in mid and late nineties there was a huge surge in drug abuse cases. But substance of abuse in those times was painkillers, cough syrups and other over the counter drugs.

Various studies conducted suggest that conditions like unemployment, peer pressure, family issues are few of the reasons that have led people to take drugs.

IMHAMS in the year from 2016-2019 saw a heavy influx of patients suffering from substance drugs. As per records, 489 people sought treatment in hospital in 2016. Number increased to 3622 in 2017 and one year later it exceeded 5000 cases. Shockingly, the number rose to 7420 by 2019.

Rising cases are a clear indication that the problem of drugs in Kashmir is too scary.

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