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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Kashmir's generation next falling prey to drugs

Wasim Nabi, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, November 05, 2013
First Published: 17:24 IST(5/11/2013) | Last Updated: 17:25 IST(5/11/2013)

Born and brought up in turmoil and violence, Kashmir's generation next is now falling prey to drugs.

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A fresh data of the Srinagar police control room's (PCR) de-addiction centre paints a grim picture. Most drug abusers fall in the age group of 18-35 years and the patient flow at the de-addiction centre is alarming too.

Last year, 633 were registered at the PCR, which has gone up to 1,978 in just first eight months this year. While 81% were male, alarming 19% were females. Number of female drug abusers too is on the rise in the otherwise conservative society.

Started in 2008, the PCR's de-addiction centre has treated an alarming number of 6,693 abusers till date.

"We have lost one generation due to the conflict. We may lose next generation to drugs,"said Harris Abrar, a social worker at the de-addiction centre. "It is high time to take steps to check this alarming rate of addiction in the Valley,"he added.

He said that the youth of Kashmir were taking refuge in drugs as they confronts problems in life.

Abrar said the highest number of addicts fall in the age group of 18-35 years. "Conflict, high unemployment rate, relationship, peer pressures, family disputes, love breakups and death of loved ones and split families are main reasons behind addiction,"he said.

The PCR's stress management cell received more than 567 calls from February 2011 to September 2013. "Suicidal tendencies were evident. Exam-related stress queries also topped among the callers,"said Abrar.

The PCR is grappling to address the increasing rush of patients. More than 55 patients are in the waiting list this month.

"We don't have enough space to accommodate all the patients. We treat them during the OPD hours,"he added.

Dr Muzafar Ahmad, who works at the de-addiction centre, blames easy availability of drugs for the alarming rise in abusers.

"Drug addiction is getting very common in Kashmir because of its easy availability in the markets,"said Dr Ahmad.

He said the commonly abused drugs are benzodiazepine, sleeping pills, cough syruprs and Alprax. "Besides opium, fluid, brown sugar and alcohol addiction is also sommon among the youth,"said Dr Muzafar.

Abrar claimed that more than 85% patients recovered through 'social intervention plan'. "It played a pivotal role in rehabilitation process,"said Abrar.

The social intervention plan comprised individual sessions, family sessions, identification of stressor in the family, antagonist consent, work rehabilitation, relapse prevention education and pre-discharge counselling.

Kashmir University directorate of lifelong learning is planning to initiate a one-month vocational course for rehabilitating drug addicts. "This way many will earn livelihood and recover as a fruitful citizen,"said Dr Ahmad.

The doctor also called upon the society to come forward and help these drug addicts to recover. "There is need to accept them as normal citizens,"said Dr Ahmad.


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