KV News

Saving the youth

Saving the youth
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By: Shahid Ul Islam, Tajamul Islam

Drug addiction is the fastest-growing problem among youth in developing countries besides already causing a great harm in the developed world as well. The Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir is not an exception. A rapid increase in drug addiction among young boys and girls has emerged as a serious social problem in a society that constitutes one of the highest proportions of young people.

This is shocking to notice that the youth in the valley of Kashmir are falling prey to drug abuse at an accelerated pace. The youth, who should be at the forefront of building the nation, are becoming victims of drugs and thus not only spoiling their own lives but also of their families and also creating societal problems.

The parents can’t escape the blame. Hazrat Ali (RA) said: “Surely the heart of the youth is like the uncultivated ground- it will accept whatever you throw upon it (and that is what will grow from it).”

Against the backdrop of this wise saying, youth taking to drugs is a question mark for us as a society. There is something wrong within society. There is a need to find out what makes our youth choose this path and why they are doing so. As per the analysis, the youth who failed in their relationships are becoming the epicenter of drug consumption, some people suggest unemployment as the main cause. But unemployment is a worldwide phenomenon but not everywhere unemployed youth take drugs.

Primarily it is the responsibility of the family to mentor their wards to go in the right direction. For that, parents need to have extra communication with their children. Of late, one could say without any fear of contradiction, that parents are too busy with their affairs that they don’t spare even a minute to sit with their children, listen to them, and try to understand them and that is why the children look elsewhere for such kind of support and sometimes, in this quest, fall in bad company. It is therefore the responsibility of the parents to develop friendly relations with their children and be there to share their frustrations.

They can foster social cohesiveness by serving as a link between very societal groups. A country cannot prosper without the contribution of every citizen and youth is the most important component. The youth should seize possibilities in all areas of the nation’s advancement and development and tomorrow’s leaders would be from amongst the pool of young people, thus it will be up to the youth to use everything they have learned and experienced to grow as individuals.

One must accept responsibility for the knowledge already acquired and determine the extent to which knowledge has been utilized. There is a need to promote and practice a growing entrepreneurial culture among the youth. Social media and technology can also be best utilized by youth to stay focused and explore opportunities for their future.

Drug abuse is a pervasive problem that affects millions of people around the world. It can have severe and long-lasting effects on the physical and mental health of an individual, as well as on their social and economic well-being in general the effects of drug abuse on individuals, families, and society.

Drug abuse can have a profound effect on an individual’s physical and mental health. The use of drugs can cause a range of health-related problems, including heart disease, liver damage, respiratory problems, and cancer. Drug abuse can also lead to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and psychosis which in the long run could result in learning disabilities. It can also have a significant impact on an individual’s social and economic well-being.

Many people who abuse drugs struggle with maintaining employment, relationships, and other aspects of their lives. Drug abuse can also lead to financial problems, legal issues, and homelessness. Every day we hear some news about drug addicts, Drug Peddlers, and arrests made in such connections. We have created an extremely horrifying environment for our younger generation.

As a consequence, the Kashmir Valley is slowly becoming a drug hub in Northern India, having more than 67,000 drug abusers, of which 90 percent are heroin addicts, using more than 33,000 syringes daily.

With 2.5 percent of the population using drugs, Kashmir has emerged as the country’s top-drug-affected region, ahead of Punjab, where 1.2 percent of the population is reportedly addicted to drug abuse. In November 2022, the state-level narcotic coordination committee meeting chaired by the Chief Sectary revealed that at least six lakh residents were affected by drug-related issues in Jammu and Kashmir.

Over 33 thousand syringes are used to inject heroin by drug abusers in the Valley. Heroin is among the most common drugs used by these abusers. The study shows 90 percent of drug abusers are using heroin while the rest are using cocaine, brown sugar, and marijuana. Most of the users are daily users, usually, a heroin user uses around 1 gm of heroin. It costs around 3-4 thousand Indian rupees, and we found that almost as far as monthly consumption is concerned, there were around 88 thousand Indian rupees spent on heroin by only one user.

These abusers use Cannabis or others which are a little cheaper, so around 10 thousand is spent on that as well,” said Dr. Fazal Ul Rab, co-author of the Research, Psychiatric Hospital. Socio-demographic variables of 189 out-patients with drug abuse who were registered at the Hospital for Psychiatric Diseases, Srinagar were studied. Most of the drug abusers were male, the majority (57.2%) being in the 26-35 age group. Cannabis was the commonest substance abused, followed by heroin. Cannabis abusers had the longest duration of drug use but the lowest rate of drug dependence (29.9%) and lowest rate of multiple drug abuse (6.1%), whereas heroin abusers had the highest rate of drug dependence (88.8%) and the highest rate of multiple drug abuse (83.4%).

More than 50% of drug abusers had impairment in health and psycho-social status. Problems with relatives or acquaintances led to treatment contact in about 62% of patients. Other socio-demographic variables such as marital, educational, or occupational status did not reveal any significant difference.

According to a survey conducted by the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP), there are seventy thousand drug addicts in the Kashmir division alone which include four thousand women. In Kashmir, Valley 65% to 70% of students are drug addicts. As per government psychiatric disease hospital statistics, 90% of abusers belong to the age group of 17 to 35 years with a lifetime prevalence of drug addiction. Kashmir is known for its attraction to tourists and migrant laborers which increases the rate of different drug use among drug addicts.

Easily available from parent gateway drugs like cigarettes, Naas, Hookah, etc are commonly used by young people aged 12-15 years. People in Kashmir as so heartless that they cultivate and sell Cocaine, and other drugs just to get some quick money. Our society is completely lost and ruined. People here don’t think about anything when it comes to making money.

We have lost our souls. Our society has lost moral grounds and is in shambles. When it comes to making quick money we don’t give another thought. Is this the society that will progress? Our primary aim in writing this article is not to criticize anyone, but we are all equally responsible for this. We aim to make some awareness among the masses, so let’s make sure we act responsibly and do not become part of ruining our society.

On its part, law enforcement agencies should launch a sustained crackdown on drug traffickers to ensure that the deadly substances are no longer in circulation. Though almost every day police come out with statements wherein they claim to have arrested some drug peddlers and confiscated some substance, the very fact that it is happening every day indicates that there is some flaw in the counter-drug operation.

The authorities need to take this issue very seriously and ensure that none within the ranks is involved in aiding and abetting this nefarious business. That said, religious leaders, instead of creating unnecessary controversies during their sermons, should focus on social issues like drug abuse. They should speak frequently about the ills of using drugs and explain to the youth how this has been condemned by Islam.

The administration too shall have to make extraordinary efforts to kill these bacteria which is nearly spreading the infection of drug addiction among the youths. If we delay in controlling this menace right now how can we even think of acting against it when it can become uncontrollable.

(The authors are Law students)


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