A CAMPAIGN was launched recently on the directives of commissioner of Peshawar to make the city free from drug addicts and it came up with shocking revelations. According to reports, surveillance teams rounded up about 800 drug addicts from various parts of the metropolis and about 200 of them were found to be suffering from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other diseases.

Surprisingly enough, more than a dozen were young women. All the arrested drug addicts were sent to rehabilitation centres where they would be properly treated and rehabilitated under strict vigilance. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government in collaboration with civil society organisations has been working against drug abuse for long.

Such measures are not taken for the first time, but, unfortunately, the government never tried to find out the root causes of drug addiction. One does not need to apply rocket science to know it is the drug mafia which is responsible for this menace.

No comprehensive data is available and only sketchy information cannot address this horrible social issue. There is a need for scientific surveys to be carried out featuring the area, age and gender of the drug addicts with a socio-economic background of every individual and the family they belong to.

A comprehensive action plan against the real perpetrators — drug mafia and all those who are involved in manufacturing, transportation and facilitators in access to drugs — should be launched.

It is also believed that not only uneducated people, but school and university students, both boys and girls, are addicted to heroin, hashish, ice, etc., and that there has been a fast-growing trend of drug abuse among students staying on the educational campuses. When it comes to students living on the campuses of boarding educational institutions away from the supervision of their parents, special vigilant teams should be set up on the campuses to ensure that these students do not fall prey to such addiction.

Engaging trained anti-drugs teams, comprising doctors, counsellors and teachers, should be part of an effective campaign. If this multi-pronged strategy is adopted, it is hoped that the menace of drug abuse would be addressed to a great extent.

Sher Alam Shinwari
Peshawar

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2022

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