Don’t be drugged into silence

The drug menace is touching dangerous levels in Kashmir and government policies
alone won’t curb it. Let us all wake up and raise a voice against it we don’t want it to eat into our system.

KASHMIR has emerged as the country’s Number One drug-affected region with more
than 2.5 percent of the population using drugs. It has surpassed Punjab where the average drug users count to 1.2 percent. Superficially, the wide spread of drug abuse is attributed to the violent conflict, large-scale unemployment, stressful social life, uncertainties in family life, influence of peers, so on and so forth. The credible and not-so-credible reports about drug abuse emanating from different parts of Kashmir, and that too on a daily basis,
somehow suggest that the menace is more widespread in the pockets which were earlier
infamous for violence and violent protests. Sopore in North Kashmir is a typical case study.
The apple town is reeling under drug abuse. Earlier it was most infamous for violence,
stone-pelting, frequent shutdowns and the disruption of life was considered a normal in
the area. South Kashmir too presents more or less the same picture. The areas which were earlier more into violence are the most affected by drug menace. In fact, the use of drugs and trafficking took off initially from the pockets where the influence of extremist thought
processes was intense. This is the inconvenient truth – that militancy and drug abuse are
directly related to each other. The reality should be accepted; the sooner, the better.
This is precisely why the response to such a dangerous, widespread menace is mute. The
fear of non-state actors who are direct beneficiaries of drug trafficking and drug- peddling, does not permit the society to raise a voice against the menace. The drug menace is consuming the Kashmiri youth very fast and is eating up the vitals of the society.
Government efforts alone cannot bring results if the society does not wake up. Let us stop
constructing conspiracy theories, stop pretending unaffected, and let us accept the
harsh reality and raise our voice against the menace.


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