Of 70,000 drug addicts in Kashmir, over 4000 are females

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65 to 70% of students in Kashmir experimenting with drugs

70,000 drug addicts in Kashmir, including 22000 addicts are females

Overall percentage of women doing drugs is 31%

26% female students in drug trap 

Over 70% addicts in the age group of 18-35 years

Over 2 00,000 people in Kashmir on opiates

2 hospitals received 69,434 patients between April and December 2015

Srinagar: Drug abuse, a phenomenon widespread among the boys of Kashmir, is now showing a trend whereby teenage girls and women are increasingly turning into substance users and addicts.

According to United Nations International Drug Control Programme survey in 2008 showed that there were more than 70,000 drug addicts in Kashmir, including 4000 women addicts.

The survey also revealed that 65 to 70 percent of the student community in Kashmir is taking drugs and 26 percent of female students have also fallen in this trap. More than 70 percent of addicts fall in the age group of 18-35 years.

Leading Psychiatrist Dr. Mushtaq Margoob in his study, ‘The Menace of Drug Abuse In kashmir’ found that more than 2, 00000 people in Kashmir which has a population of four million people were on opiates. 

As per the latest data available with Government Psychiatry Disease Hospital, Rainawari and Psychiatry Department of Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital has received 69,434 patients between April and December 2015. 

SMHS received 38,297 and Rainawari hospital received 31,137. Out of the total patients, 899 were found drug addicts.

 In a recent case four women drug addicts were admitted to Psychiatry Disease hospital, Rainawari where doctors say drug abuse among women is growing in Kashmir. Psychiatrists at the hospital say they have been receiving cases of women drug addicts for the past few years.

Dr. Zaid Wani, Associate Professor at Psychiatry Disease hospital said, “Women tend to fall easily to drugs because of easy availability in the market. Like most of the women addicts they use glue, fevicol, polish, thinners, cannabis and opiates. Some of them use sleeping pills and other sedative drugs.”

“We have cases wherein girls have been taking drugs from past 10-15 years period. In one of the cases, young women from the old city had been taking drugs for past nine years. She was taking drugs to relieve stress and was used to take many psychoactive drugs.”

“Drug addiction among young women is primarily due to peer pressure and stress. However, the social stigma attached to drug addiction is keeping most of women patients away from psychiatrists. Most of the female drug addicts are iatrogenic which means addiction through medical examination or treatment. Psychiatrists attribute the rise in iatrogenic drug abuse in Kashmir to prescription of psychoactive drugs by medical practitioners,” he added more.

Young women and college girls are abusing substances especially toluene, a common thinner, which was testified by officials at the De-addiction centre Batmaloo run by police control room Srinagar. The abuse of toluene is getting very common in Kashmir as it readily available and the chemical is found in paints, petrol, varnishes, lacquers, adhesives, glues and shoe polish.

“At this particular centre we don’t admit women addicts but we do offer consultation. Sometimes we offer consultation through phone or online. Due to social stigma women don’t turn up at the centre for treatment as of now we received more than 400 calls of women addicts from last five years. Some of them fear and don’t call back,”said Dr. Manzoor Ahmad Khan.

“We once received a call from a girl who said she along with 18 of her female friends wanted to quit drugs. But we never heard from them after that,” he added further. 

Yasir Ahmad, a social worker at the centre said, “There was time when Kashmir had one addict from each district but now there are more than one in a single family. The state health department doesn’t gather or maintain information on the status of drug addiction in Kashmir.”

“The direct impact of addiction is social disintegration. It splits families, friends and subsequently society. It is common that addicts live in isolation that is where parental monitoring can help out addicts in longer run,” said A.G. Madhosh Psychologist and former professor at the University of Kashmir.

“Additionally youth on drugs may physically live within a family, but emotionally they are somewhere else. They do not care about what happens to their near and dear ones and are insensitive towards the society. It is seen both with male as well as female addicts,” he said.

Case Study

Fazeela (name Changed) a 24 year old girl got used to drugs when she was 17 years old. She began with ‘glue sniffing’ for fun during her school days and moved to sedatives like pain killers and sleeping pills. At first I began to take 2 to 3 pills at one time then gradually I began to take  7- 10 pills. For few months my parents didn’t observe the changes in me and suddenly on one night my mother got up during the night and heard me doing something. She knocked the door and I gobbled the pills quickly. When she entered the room, she cried and my father came into the room. I was not in my senses but I heard my mother crying and my father looking in shock. Till next morning I had no idea what might have happened. 

My father without telling me anything took me to rehabilitation centre, khanyar and a doctor came up to me in an isolated room and began talking to me. He asked question like what is your hobby, where you want to go for tour, which dish you like, what are your favourite subjects and many more. At that time I hate to talk but after going to the rehab centre for months together, slightly I began to open up. I have been visiting this centre for almost 8 months of now and I am thankful to the doctors as well as to my parents that they have helped me to overcome the menace of drug addiction.

I got in this trap unknowingly. But now I have understood the value of life that Allah has given and value of my family. As a person I will try to bring those girls who are trapped in drug abuse. For this we need awareness and moral lessons. The police action on drug pedlars and availability of sedatives in markets needs to be checked. There must be a proper supervision. Otherwise this is impossible to stop down.

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