Meth addiction

Published January 23, 2022

HIGHLY addictive crystal metham-phetamine, also known as ice, has gained popularity among youngsters, especially students belonging to the upper strata of society. Many families keep this addiction a secret and don’t seek professional help and treatment. A rising number of people in Pakistan are using crystal meth. According to specialists, more students and members of the educated upper class are being attracted to the drug.

The recent emergence of meth abuse in the young and the educated is alarming. It is also one of the most addictive drugs of abuse. Meth can be ingested orally, smoked, snorted or injected. Its effects include feeling of euphoria and a reduced appetite. Meth, if consumed consistently, can be a more addictive stimulant than other addictions. The users become irritated, angry, violent and hostile. It is unfortunate that the drug is consumed more by the educated people.

Peer pressure is the biggest factor contributing to the spread of addiction and has become a major concern for members of the middle and upper classes.

Frequent seizure of meth by anti-narcotics forces in recent years, especially at educational institutions, is a clear indicator of the spread of the menace in society.

Meth dealers are well connected. Some of them get addicts admitted to educational institutions so they may peddle drugs there and entice new ‘clients’. The punishment for selling meth can be two years in prison, or a hefty fine, or both, if the person is caught carrying up to 100gm of ice.

It is also difficult to estimate the exact number of meth users as many people keep their addiction a secret. Drug addicts, their parents and family members also conceal information out of fear of social backlash. However, Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) data suggests there are around 27 million people struggling with drug abuse in Pakistan; including both men and women. Therefore, the number of meth users could be in the tens of thousands.

Besides, it is harder for women to receive drug abuse treatment in conservative areas. As more young people turn to meth and other drugs in the country, the tendency of families to keep addiction a secret threatens to create a big dilemma for society. There is an urgent need to have some soul-searching across the social spectrum

Mirza Burhan

Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2022



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