Even as Heroin abuse is tremendously rising across Kashmir, the southern district of Kulgam has topped the list as the district spends Rs 1 lakh on the use of the substance, official figures accessed by the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) revealed Tuesday.
Figures suggest that Kulgam district spends Rs 1,01,660 on heroin monthly which is highest in the whole Kashmir division. The survey in this regard has been conducted by the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (IMHANS) Kashmir
“Rs 9 lakh worth heroin is being consumed in Kashmir every month,” the survey reveals. It states that Rs 89,134 is being spent on heroin in Anantnag , Rs 100,202 in Bandipora, Rs 71,020 in Baramulla (lowest in Kashmir), Rs 88,995 in Budgam, Rs 79,694 in Ganderbal, Rs 87,392 in Kupwara, Rs 88,529 in Srinagar, Rs 100,165 in Shopian and Rs 81, 726 in Pulwama.
Medical superintendent, district hospital Kulgam, Afsana Bano said that addiction treatment facility (ATF) is functional at District hospital Kulgam and many patients are being treated there.
“I request parents to consult nearby hospitals if they think their child is suffering from drug abuse. Full treatment facilities for such patients are available here in Kashmir,” she said.
A police official said around 90 FIRs were lodged in Kulgam district this year against drug peddlers, around 120 have been arrested besides that five have been booked under PIT NDPS in Kulgam district.
Dr Yasir Rather Professor, Department of Psychiatry (IMHANS) GMC Srinagar told KNO that heroin, an illicit hard core drug, is mostly used by substance users in Kulgam district which is costly and that is why the money spent in Kulgam is more as compared to others.
“There is a misconception in abusers that they won’t get rid of it but such youth can visit ATF’s available at all district hospitals, where they can get free treatment and medication. These medicines and counselling will help such patients to overcome the withdrawals that they face once they try to stop taking heroin,” he said. “Once a person gets involved in addiction, it is not just the individual but the whole family gets affected. The person involved in addiction also faces other health burdens like comorbid life threatening diseases like HCV, HIV and endocarditis.”
Dr Yasir said that its overdose can lead to deaths. “There is a need for preventive measures and every responsible citizen of our society, especially religious preachers, has an important role to play. Besides, Government agencies like law and enforcement should focus on supply reduction, by stopping drug peddling,” he said.
“There is a need for recreational activities in which youth can be engaged which prevents them from drug addiction. Also parents should avoid putting too much academic pressure on their children. And educational institutions should also try to focus on mental well-being of students by counselling and educating students about life skill training at a very early age.”