The other day Jammu and Kashmir government made the draft drug de-addiction policy public. The document has revealed a disturbing rise in drug addiction cases in Kashmir. It says that drug addiction is widespread, fast-rising and is quickly taking the form of an epidemic all across the state. The gravity of the issue can be understood from the conclusions drawn in the document which say “places where a bus cannot go, the deadly drugs reach”. “No wonder, drug over-dose is quickly becoming a common emergency in our hospitals. Drug addiction, unfortunately, does not come alone. It brings with it shame, violence, crime, destruction of individuals and families, accidents and death. It is rendering our youth unproductive causing slow and painful death of a nation. The problem we are dealing with is complex because it affects all the facets of one’s personality and renders the person dysfunctional and a burden for the family and community”, the document says. The menace of drugs is catching up the young Kashmir fast and furiously. Be it a way to fight personal crisis, means to wipe the mental scars or just a sign of being cool, a section of youth in Kashmir have fallen into the net of drugs. Charas, brown sugar, cocaine, cannabis, psychotropic drugs et al are the new weapons of mass destruction for the youth.
Around forty per cent of our youth, a majority of them students, have become habitual drug addicts. What is more disturbing is that drug peddlers have found their way in the most sensitive areas of our society. They have by now entrenched themselves into spaces of educational institutions as well. Some lower rung employees of educational institutions are reported to be in involved in trafficking of drugs in colleges and schools. Educational institutes for girls are on their radar. Sometime back a premier woman’s college cancelled admissions of around half a dozen girl students and issued notices to their parents for ‘bad behaviour’ of their wards. Some of these students had been found taking drugs and other immoral activities within the college premises.
Easy access to drugs and uncontrolled activities of drug peddlers are reported to be the main contributing causes of this insidious phenomenon. Figures released by J&K Police reveal around 2,574 kilograms of cannabis and its derivatives, 11,000 bottles and 17,000 tablets of psychotropic prescription drugs were seized in 2013. Police have arrested 247 persons involved in illicit drugs related activities and registered 227 cases under narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances (NDPS) act in Kashmir Zone in 2013. Last year, 1,000 kilograms of cannabis and its derivatives, 115 kilograms of brown sugar and about 1,600 bottles and 14,000 tablets of psychotropic prescription drugs were recovered by police in Kashmir Zone. The most worrying part is that there is little effort on the part of the concerned people in the administration to curb the menace. A few years back union ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment launched a scheme under which financial assistance is being provided to the states for prevention of the drug abuse. However, Jammu and Kashmir has benefited least from the scheme so far.
Our political and religious leadership is perhaps ignorant of the horror drug abuse is spreading in our society. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has, on occasions, cautioned of the immorality and drug abuse that has been overtaking our social system. But the volume of the dangers of this huge social abuse is little to be countered by mere press notes. It needs a comprehensive and joint campaign by all sorts of political and religious leaders. There are dozens of social and religious organizations, which owe moral obligation towards people to educate them on this issue. Jamaat-e-Islami, being the largest socio-political organization, has the main responsibility. It should get together other religious groups on the issue. Our leadership must rise to the occasion and launch a comprehensive fight against all sorts of immoral activities.