SRINAGAR — A recent study done by the Government Medical College’s Psychiatry department has revealed that Kashmir has surpassed Punjab in drug abuse cases and is currently at the number two position among the top drug abuser states in the country. With Northeast in India topping the drug abuse list, Kashmir is not far behind.
Over 33 thousand syringes are used to inject heroin by drug abusers in the Valley on a daily basis. 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.
”The survey was conducted by the Department of Mental Health and Neurosciences in collaboration with the Health Services Department and It was financed by the Social Welfare Department. We conducted this study in all ten districts of Kashmir and we found some alarming statuses as far as the substance use scenario is concerned, it has been a dramatic change from the last couple of years. For the first time we are seeing Injection Heroin as the main substance user, previously we used to see painkiller and cannabis users, and in this study, we found 67 thousand substance users overall. Mainly using Heroin. ” said Dr. Fazal Ul Rab, co-Author of the Research, Psychiatric Hospital.
The survey has also revealed that most of the drug abusers are in the age group of 17-33 years. Unemployed youth are one of the main consumers of these drugs. And the number of drug abusers in the valley has crossed 67000, while 33000 are injected heroin using syringes.
All India Institute of Medical Sciences has done a study recently where they said that Punjab has 1.2 percent of Opiate users while the study done in Kashmir has shown the percentage at 2.5 percent. The study showed that crores of rupees are being spent on these drugs in the valley every day. A single drug abuser is spending over 88 thousand Indian rupees every month.
”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.
The Drug Abusers who are being treated at these drug de-addiction centers in Srinagar say that Drugs are easily available across the Valley and once they get addicted to these substances, they go to any extent to get them. The abusers in the valley have also become the dealers of these drugs.
”The abusers use heroin very openly now. We use heroin through injection and via foil. But mostly it’s the Injection that is being used frequently. It is available everywhere in every district of Kashmir Valley. I started with cigarettes and went to use Cannabis, and then heroin. My nerves were blocked as I had become a hardcore abuser. I used to pay around 4000 rupees to get a gram of heroin, we can buy less than a gram also. Most of the abusers have become dealers now. The government has to make a policy about the availability of drugs in the Valley. ” the drug abuser was quoted as saying.
Jammu and Kashmir Police is carrying out a major crackdown on drug peddling in the Kashmir Valley. Tons of drugs have been recovered by the Police from various districts of the Valley. Most of these consignments have been recovered from the bordering areas in North Kashmir in Valley while as International Border in the Jammu region. Police say most of the drug is supplied from across the border. Police recovered drugs from areas close to the Line of Control, like Kupwara and Uri. Also, a lot of these drug consignments were dropped via drones from across the International borders in different parts of Jammu, the report added.