Drug abuse continues to be major challenge in J&K: CSFK-Health

Says huge incline in number of drug addicts

Srinagar: Civil Society Forum for Health, Kashmir (CSFK-Health) has expressed concern over the alarming rise in the number of drug addiction cases in Jammu and Kashmir and has called for drastic measures to tackle the same on war-footing basis.

In a statement, a spokesperson of the Forum has said that as per latest reports, a total of 13500 drug addicts have been treated at out-patient department of IMHANS, Kashmir alone during the year 2021 as against 7403 in 2020 and 5113 in 2019 whereas actual number of abusers in Kashmir is far greater than that because a vast majority of the abusers do not report at govt. hospitals.

“Further almost 80% the total number of addicts comprises of heroin abusers now showing an alarming shift from psychotropic substance abuse to heroin addiction, whereas 30% of addicts are not even 18 years of age,” CSFK spokesperson said.

Spokesperson of the Forum further added that, “worldwide heroin is considered to be one of the most dangerous drugs among all substances of abuse claiming thousands of lives annually across the globe. Thousands of youth across all age groups are falling prey to heroin abuse. With such a large number of new heroin addicts in the society, which is even getting depicted in daily news reports now, a new gateway of crime is getting opened rapidly in the society. Therefore, we need to maintain a stringent check and control on the availability, supply and distribution of all substances of abuse, particularly heroin across J&K without any further delay.”

Calling for sufficient support for the rehabilitation and mainstreaming of drug addicts, CSFK spokesperson has demanded adequate manpower, fund allocation and support system for these drug de-addiction centres.

“Further critical and quick response to overdosed patients needs to be very well established across all JK UT hospitals. Mass awareness of all sections of the society especially parents and teachers need to be accorded top priority because drug addicts have peculiar symptoms which can be identified by the parents and teachers at an early stage followed by their prompt treatment and rehabilitation,” statement added.

“District level administrative heads including DCs/SSPs have a vital role to play in activating and mobilizing all concerned departments like health, excise, education, youth services and sports etc,” CSFK-Health said and called for religious leaders too need to step forward and raise an alarm in the society about this menace in their Friday sermons and impressed upon family members, parents and teachers to play a major role in ensuring that their children don’t fall prey to this heinous crime.

CSFK-Health has demanded establishment of a drug de-addiction task force comprising of representatives from health department, excise department, education department, police, youth services and sports department.

“There is need to pitch for emergency medical set up at SMHS and SKIMS for handling drug related emergencies. As the number of deaths due to drug overdose is increasing day by day there is need for setting up emergency exclusively for drug abuse management at all leading hospitals of the UT. Further there also need for sufficient supply of antidotes for heroin intoxication and alcohol intoxication. There is also need for an emergency financial support for those who cannot afford treatment besides an exclusive OPD service for handling drug related Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C infections,” statement reads.

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