Heroin drug addiction among Kashmiri youth on the rise
The significant surge in the cases in de-addiction centres in Jammu & Kashmir seems to suggest that Pakistan is pushing deadly drugs in the region to not just finance militancy but to drag Indian youth into the quagmire of drug dependency.
According to a leading news website, the number of people approaching the drug de-addiction center (DDC) of Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar, for help, has dramatically shot up by nearly 100 times from 140 patients in 2014 to 13,200 in 2021.
The cases have been steadily rising over the years and by 2020, 6,200 people registered at the DDC for IV heroin abuse, despite challenges to health centres posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the cases more than doubled from the previous year with 13,200 seeking help for drug abuse at the centre.
Dr Muzaffar Khan, the J&K de-addiction centre in-charge, told Deccan Herald that the heroin abuse cases were actually much higher than reported at de-addiction facilities in Kashmir. Heroin addiction in Kashmir was becoming an ‘addiction of a generation’, he said, pointing out that heroin in Kashmir is easily available. According to Khan, they had many cases where most of the members of a single family were addicts.
Alongside the sharp rise in patients approaching de-addiction centres, there has been an escalation in large seizures of narcotics in J&K, said the report. While 72.07 kg of heroin was seized in 2015, this figure grew to 174.94 kg of heroin in 2016, 207.46 kg in 2017. In 2020, 152 kg of heroin has been apprehended.
The J&K police fear that with drugs reportedly being the major source of funding for Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir, the malaise of drug addiction has spread deep into the society. The authorities are increasingly concerned over this narco-threat, which has intensified and is not just helping to foster terrorist activities but also ruining the lives of the youth in the valley.