Drug Addiction is defined as out-of-control use of drugs such as heroin, marijuana and opium. Without taking into account the destructive consequences of drug abuse, addicts continue to use them which either leads them to mental illness, permanent dependency on the drug or an excruciating death. Drug addiction has become a huge social problem for Pakistan. A UN study shows that about 6.7 million people in the country are drug users with cannabis being the most abused drug.
Drugs History in Pakistan
The drug epidemic began in Pakistan with the migration of Afghanis during the Afghan War in 1980s. Afghanistan is still the manufacturer of 75% of the heroin in the world. Thousands of Afghanis who crossed the border, also brought with them, their drugs. The adventurous Pakistani youngsters and adults seeking refuge from stresses of life thought of them as a safe haven. Slowly, the drug addiction began to spread. Pakistani government did nothing to control this abuse and soon, from Peshawar to Karachi and Lahore to Khyber, the drug addiction has taken a strong hold in the roots of our beloved country. In order to provide more and more drugs to the addicts, the drug dealers began to smuggle the drugs across Pakistan-Afghan border. Today, the drug dealing business has reached a value of $2 billion a year. The Peshawar that once used to be the center of Pakistani tourism, has succumbed to drugs. The bazaars that were once filled with people from all over the world are now filled with drug dealers and addicts. About 44 tons of charas or processed heroin and 110 tons of heroin and morphine is smuggled and used annually in Pakistan. The use of opium and heroin is greater in Punjab and Sindh and particularly high in the rural areas.
Drugs Consumption in Pakistan
In a study conducted by the universities and colleges in Lahore, an alarming number of 56% students confessed to using drugs. Even in the schools and academies, students use bathroom stalls to smoke ‘charas’ and cannabis.
The number of injected drug users in Pakistan was 90,000 in 2007. In 2014, the number was 500,000. The increase in the number of injected drug users has given rise to HIV epidemics. In 2005, only 11% of the drug users were HIV positive. In 2011, the number increased to 40%. This is feared to rise even more rapidly due to use of infected needles. Like past, the government has not taken steps to control drug addicting even today. However, the NGOs have started to open rehabilitation centers to help those struggling with drug addiction. The only government organization is the Anti-Narcotics Force which is “supposed” to combat the drug smuggling and dealing. However, it has not been able to produce any positive results.
The drug usage has an extremely negative effect on the Pakistani society leading to rape, domestic abuse, harassment, increase in crimes and murders. If steps are not taken to effectively reduce this menace, Pakistani culture and society could collapse as the number of drug users goes on increasing.