Women drug addicts coming forward for counseling in Kashmir | india | Hindustan Times
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Women drug addicts coming forward for counseling in Kashmir

For the first time in Kashmir valley, being a traditional society, women drug abusers are coming forward for counseling as the valley see the drug addicts’ age slipping into the age group of 12.

india Updated: Jul 01, 2011 18:42 IST
Peerzada Ashiq

For the first time in Kashmir valley, being a traditional society, women drug abusers are coming forward for counseling as the valley see the drug addicts’ age slipping into the age group of 12. The availability of drugs and liquor, according to doctors, now reaches colleges in towns and rural pockets.

"In the last three months, we have received 11 calls of women taking drugs, mainly abusing medicines like sleeping pills. The phone line for counseling has helped women to come out of the closet," said Dr Muhammad Muzaffar Khan, in-charge Police Control Room De addiction Centre in Srinagar.

An online counseling centre was opened in Srinagar three months ago in Srinagar. It has received 120 calls of drug abusers till date, including women callers.

According to the recent survey by valley’s leading psychiatrist Dr Mushtaq Margoob, there are two lakh drug abusers in Kashmir. The UN puts the figure at 60,000. The surveys suggest around 4,000 women are taking drugs in Kashmir.

“Most women we heard from and treated do not take drugs for fun but as an escape route. The majority of female drug abusers were facing disturbed relationships and break-ups,” said Dr Khan.

The Srinagar de-addiction centre is also observing a dangerous trend. “The age of drug abusers in Kashmir has gone from 16 to as young as 12-years-old. It’s peer pressure, abusers’ company and easy availability of drugs in the market that have the juveniles getting hooked to it,” said Dr Khan.

Khan said the questioning of the patients revealed that drugs like codeine are available in colleges. “We are told that non-permanent teachers and non-teaching staff sell drugs to students to make quick bucks. It’s for the first time that alcohol is available in rural pockets of Kashmir,” said Dr Khan.

Abusers are chiefly taking medicinal opiates followed by sleeping pills, cannabis and capsules. “Alcohol, however, is showing increasing trend,” said Dr Khan.

Waking up to the alarming trend of drug abusers, the government on Friday inaugurated a de-addiction centre at Srinagar’s premiere government hospital Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital.

“It is a bio-psycho-socio intervention centre. It has recreational therapy and psychological intervention. It will also have a department for social workers,” said Dr Yasir Ahmad.

Principal Government Medical College Srinagar Dr Shahida Mir threw open the 10-bed de-addiction centre, which is to be upgraded to 30 bed in second phase.