Drug Addiction: A Fatal Disease

In the last few decades, drug addiction has increased exponentially in Pakistan. It affects users mentally, physically, and emotionally. It affects the memory and brain of its addicts. It ravages the respiratory system of addicts. Its addicts get involved in illegal activities such as robbery, murder, and fraud. The rate of injecting drugs has also increased significantly in Pakistan rising fear of the HIV epidemic as well. Drug addiction has a dangerous impact on the consumer. It destroys one’s mind and body.

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Drug addiction is a chronic illness. Its addicts lose their control and become unable to live without it. Addiction of any kind is harmful to be it alcohol, sweets, or even smartphones. Drug addiction is also called substance use disorder and has become a major problem across the globe.

In Pakistan, the total number of drug addicts according to a UN report is 7.6 million.

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The ratio of males is 78% and the rest 22% is female. The number of these addicts is increasing at the rate of 40,000 drug addicts per year making Pakistan one of the most drug-affected countries in the world. There are many kinds of drugs but the most used drug in Pakistan is cannabis, about (4.03 million) individuals aged 15-64 years consume it. Other commonly used drugs included opiates (1.02 million), heroin (813000) and painkillers (1.69 million), and high-grade smoking drug “charas”. Charas is the most common beginning drug. The youngsters commonly use first-time charas most in ages less than 18 years. The main cause of drug addiction is bad society, especially in wedding programs at a young age. 90% of the transgender community is using charas during dancing and singing in wedding programs. Drug addiction kills 700 people every day in Pakistan. Most drugs come from Afghanistan.

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Afghanistan is responsible for at least 75% of the world’s heroin. It reduces the working capacity of its addicts. It has shortened human life and enhanced expenses on medicament and hospitalization. It is the cause of many fatal diseases including cancer. In fact, it is a great curse that humanity has inflicted upon itself. It is the duty of our policymakers to find out ways to discourage this habit. We can minimize the use of this infliction.

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According to the Control of Narcotics Substances Act (CNSA) 1997, possession of 100g and more of heroin, cocaine, or any other opium carries a life term or death sentence. But in many cities of Pakistan, there are many drug addicts who are taking drugs easily. The most affected province of Pakistan is Khyber Pakhtunkhwa   (10.9) and the most affected city is Karachi (42%). Karachi is ranked as 2nd number most affected city in the world. The commonly used drugs are Cocaine (19.0%) and Crack-Cocaine (15.0%), alcohol, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines (10.0% each).

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There is an urgent need to fight against drug addiction. Drug addiction can be prevented with the help of doctors and medicines. We should help people to desist it. It is not easy to quiet all at once. It may be a long gradual process. One thing that can help us to stop it is Anti-Drug Awareness. Government should take serious measures against drug addiction and the government should spread Anti-Drug Awareness in every corner of Pakistan. In the schools, in the hospitals, in the transports, to the rich and poor, to young and old. That knowledge can go a long way against drug addiction, in this way; we can make Pakistan a drug-free country.

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This Opinion has been contributed by Abdulmajeed Soomro. 

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