Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Drug Addiction in Kashmir

Zubair grapples with a burning social issue in the valley

(Mr. Mir Zubair Rashid is a Counselor, PRC, University of Kashmir, and member CAUSE (Concerned About Universal Social Empowerment), a professional social workers group working for drug free Jammu and Kashmir.)

The Business of Drug Addiction in Kashmir

The political upheaval in our state has been the most prominent factor in triggering an explosion in the drug abuse. The continuous sense of insecurity and threat to life and property resulted in the emotional instability of the population in general, and of youth in particular. With partial or complete sense of frustration, the Kashmiri youth are luring to the abuse of drug addiction, as an attempt to escape from the harsh realities of life. Drug abuse poses a great threat to the humanity. The drug trafficking and abuse leads to various types of violence and criminalities which include several political and economic dislocations. It seriously affects the sociopolitical order and economic security of many states. It also encourages corruption in states where public earning is low and unemployment is rising.

Our Kashmiri society is falling prey to this social evil. The two-decade-long conflict has begun to show its negative impact. Prescription-drug addiction, which sometime back was alien to Kashmir, has now become embedded in the Kashmiri society. Benzodiazepine, Korex, Alprax are the most commonly used drugs followed by the traditional Cannabis (Charas), Opium, Brown Sugar and Alcohol addiction.

Even though it has become an open wound, people are not willing to share information about their near and dear ones falling into this trap. Ethical issues to the treatment of a person with drug abuse are not the same as in the treatment of any other disease. While getting into the trap is very easy, the process of getting out of it is painful. There are few drug De-addiction centers in Kashmir and that too not having enough capacity.

Reasons For Rise In Drug Addiction In Kashmir:
• Socio-political disturbances
• Free availability of drugs
• Stress of growing up, failing exams, failed love relationships
• Lack of parental guidance
• To escape from harsh realities of life
• Bad company
• Too much pocket money
• Myths about drugs causing happiness, no harm, no addiction etc.

Broken homes, unhealthy parental attitudes, increasing behavioral disorders, and a desire for temporary excitement with friends may lure people to experiment with drugs. Socio political disturbance, un-employment and poverty are the grave problems in this province which are also the causes of drug abuse Now the production, trafficking and consumption have reached to peak with the availability of all types of drugs from street peddlers, vegetable and fruit sellers, tea shops, gyms, in fact from anywhere or any place depending upon the demand. No amount of checks by the enforcement agencies could dismantle the supply network which is facilitated by mobile phones etc.

Dangerous methods for using these drugs ranging from tablets, syrups, powders, creams, injections, inhalations have developed along with the increase of abuse and there is also increase of problems. The HIV, AIDS, Infective Hepatitis, among the intravenous drug users and their changing style in relation to their high risk behavior and its severe consequences.

Kashmir is heading towards the situation were we will have drugs as the back bone of our economy, like some of the countries are having. Even today we a have good number of families whose sources of income is drug trafficking. Cultivation has moved for south to north Kashmir and other parts of Kashmir as well, a good economic source. Cultivation of poppy and cannabis has led to many other industries, like cricket Bat industry, fruit industry. “poppy and cannabis fetch us more money than any other crop, so we are cultivating it. I have also suggested it to my friend from north Kashmir”, said by a cultivator from south Kashmir.

Not only cultivation but medicinal or prescribed drug companies are doing good business in Kashmir. They are earning like anything in Kashmir and no body is to object? What for we need these medicines in such a quantity every time? Why are they easily available? Even those drugs which are only allowed in Operation Theater are easily available. It is a matter of business and not a matter of concern!!!

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