THE Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment released a data showing that in J&K in 2022, 1.08 lakh men and 36,000 women were discovered to be cannabis users; 5.34 lakh men and 8,000 women were found to be opioid users; 1.6 lakh men and 8,000 women were found to be abusing sedatives; and 1.27 lakh men and 7,000 women were addicted to inhalants.
- The efforts
In an effort to stop the drug problem from worsening quickly, religious centres and educational institutions in Kashmir are taking on a new role by acting as testing and counselling locations. These infrequent actions coincide with the Valley’s ongoing battle with drug addiction; this year, the Jammu and Kashmir government officially classified nearly ten lakh individuals as drug addicts.
Recently, in the Baramulla area of Jammu and Kashmir, the police apprehended three drug dealers, among them being a wanted female drug dealer, and seized illegal substances from them.
One woman was detained this week by a police party from the police station at Baramulla at a checkpoint set up at Dewanbagh close to Grid Station, according to the police.
Anti-terror operations by the security services in Jammu and Kashmir are well-known. They have been effective in working in tandem with the local government to undermine Pakistan’s operations and the forces of their allies in the Valley. Since the insurgency backed by Pakistan is under control, the security authorities have directed their attention towards the problem of narcotics & their dealers. The Narcotic Drugs Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 2022 saw 1,021 police reports and the arrest of 1700 drug dealers, including 138 infamous ones. Massive amounts of illegal goods were apprehended by the security services during the period, including 1.567 tonnes of fukki, 4.355 tonnes of poppy straw, 13 kg brown sugar, 56 kg heroin, and 212 kg charas.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment initiated the Nasha-Mukt Bharat Abhiyan on August 15, 2020, and it is being implemented by the local administration to end drug addiction in 272 districts of India. Numerous awareness campaigns have been carried out by this programme in communities, institutions, and universities.
There are no indications that the problem of drug usage is getting any better. Reports of police apprehending drug dealers from all around the Valley are common seen in the daily newspapers. As recent as last Monday, the J&K police detained ten well-known drug dealers in Kashmir.
- Let each do one’s bit
Well, all our efforts need to be directed towards the drug problem and we should be offering help to the police working on ending the menace. It’s so crucial to continually raise the topic of how these drug dealers obtain illegal drugs and psychoactive substances. This is a major issue that poses as a great risk to individuals, particularly the younger generation.
Other organisations and the administration must step up their efforts to combat drug misuse, even though it is the J&K police’s job to confiscate, destroy, and prosecute anyone found selling illegal drugs or substances. Additionally, the people of Kashmir must reflect and discover treatments for the illness that has severely damaged the community. The government must take a more active role since drug and substance abuse can be addressed with a few better laws and policy initiatives.
Drug addiction has impacted the family unit and led to a number of social issues, including violence and crime. It is impossible to avoid or overlook this horrible problem’s negative consequences.
- The killer
No news that drug addiction and the rising crime rate in Kashmir are related. Social issues including violence, crime, and the disintegration of families – they are all connected to this menace.
Addiction to drugs in Kashmir is directly proportional to crimes like theft, robbery, and even murder. In Baramulla, a man suspected of being a heroin addict, killed his mother. The tragedy happened in the Dangarpora region of the Sopore township in north Kashmir, where a drug-addled son killed his own mother.
Due to the epidemic-like prevalence of drug misuse, many crimes can be linked to the addicts, who are constantly in need of money. It’s possible that some of them will turn on their relatives, which means they could also kill other people.
The effects of drug addiction are profound on the people involved and the society as a whole. Addiction can also cause health problems like breathing difficulties, liver damage, mental health conditions like anxiety, sadness, and psychosis, as well as other physical and psychological disorders.
A multifaceted strategy is needed to address the drug problem in Kashmir. First and foremost, more people need to be educated about the risks associated with drug addiction. Community-based awareness initiatives need to be started to encourage drug-free lifestyles, and drug education programmes need to be incorporated into the syllabi of schools and universities.
Secondly, more people need to have access to support services and treatment for addiction. The creation of detoxification, rehabilitation, and counselling centres, among other addiction treatment facilities, should be funded through public funds. All people, even those from low-income households, should be able to use and afford these amenities.
Thirdly, stronger law enforcement tactics are required to stop the distribution and trafficking of drugs. To stop drugs from being smuggled into the area, the government needs to improve border controls and collaborate with law enforcement to take down drug trafficking networks.
A police official tells KC that the forces are determined to eradicate the menace from the roots. He says, “We have proper mechanism in place to track the movements of peddlers and their contacts. The drug penetration is so deep that with the arrest of a single handler, we get the whereabouts of the chain of contacts. But even with all our efforts, it is very tough to deal with the situation at present. Personally, I believe that society needs to up the ante to help and support the police and only then we can arrest the rampant usage.”
Breaking the supply chain is necessary, even if the police have been prosecuting suppliers, primarily stores, and making daily arrests. Authorities have maintained that the supplies originate from both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) and that several gangs, including those affiliated with the security grid, have been apprehended. Still, the drug trade is booming and generating large sums of money every day, and in the process, hundreds of families are being destroyed.
So, we can never stress enough, that we need to kill this killer before it eats into our system completely and leaves us hollow and destroyed.