(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.
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!!!