The international drug mafia is estimated to be involved in a business whose total transactions cross $5 trillion year—- Drug Report 2011, United Nations Office of Drugs & Crime.
Drug abuse affects every segment of human society. Day by day more frequent and dramatic drug-related problems are touching the lives of millions at all social and economic levels and the public has become alarmed. Heroin addiction can be called “Pakistani disease”. It is a disease for which no cure has been found yet. The situation is further compounded by recent ephedrine scandal.
Despite the declaration of “War on Drugs” by United Nations in 1987, the fact remains that the problem is on the increase globally. There is no controversy regarding the growing drug-abuse in Pakistan. Their total number has reach 5.5 million out of which over 1.5 million are heroin addicts. It is an accepted reality that heroin dependence is harming Pakistani youth.
Disagreement exists, however, on the best methods for eliminating it. The government and other proponents of the War on Drugs believe that the evil is not only a health issue, it is crippling the entire society and that something must be done quickly about it. The proponents of the anti-drug campaign are most concerned about teenagers who are experimenting with addictive substances.
Under sections 52 and 53 of Control on Narcotics Substances Act 1997, Provincial Governments have been directed to register drug addicts and establish treatment and rehabilitation centers at provincial levels.
At Federal level, two Model Addiction treatment and Rehabilitation Centers each at Islamabad and Quetta have been established by Anti Narcotics Force (ANF). Since its establishment in 2005, over 40,000 drug addicts have been admitted / treated and nearly 10,000 ex-addicts were provided jobs. Both the centres are functioning effectively and drug addicts are being provided free treatment, medicine, food and stay at the centre.
In addition two more model Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers on each at Lahore and Karachi have been established. Beside these treatment and rehabilitation centers, two other projects i.e., NGO Support Program for Treatment and Rehabilitation; Focused Drug abuse Prevention for High Risk and Marginalized Groups costing Rs. 55.7 million were completed in recent years. These programmes are creating awareness amongst the masses particularly high risk group and involve the civil society in prevention as well as treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts.
The issue demands better understanding and a country-wide debate to appreciate the complexity of even this seemingly simple problem. The debate over the War on Drugs does not cloud the fact that drug abuse remains an area of great concern. More and more teenagers are becoming dependent on heroin; many are dying from drug overdoses; some adults are spending half of more of their incomes on illegal narcotics.
The victory of the drug culture in no way becomes a possibility if we maintain a resolute stand against it. We know that we can do better on all aspects of drug policy. We can take effective action against the traffic, and thus score decisively in the effort to stop the smugglers and pushers.
We can give our enforcement agencies the means they need to do their work with maximum effectiveness.
The federal government can provide better assistance to provincial governments and local agencies.
Local pressure groups like jirgas can assume a larger, more appropriate role in eradication of opium cultivation. These are all enforcement gains that still waiting to be made.
Profits from illegal drug trafficking generate billions of rupees, billions that submerge and then absorb banks, billions that buy politicians, administrators, police officers and judges.
This is why Pakistan finds itself in the grip of frenzy over the crisis. How can this be, with all the tall claims that wonders had been done in the past? Some blame the “pushers”. Others rightly point out that there is demand as well as supply, and also blame the users.
The details about the seizure of narcotic drug in Pakistan, cases affected and defendants arrested during the fiscal year 2010-11 are given in Table below:
|Number of cases||68,594|
|Number of defendants||128,647|
|Injections all types||36,736 (Nos|
The war on drugs desperately needs to be intensified. But how it should be waged is a question which must be opened for national debate before any policy is framed. Each of us has a moral obligation to provide help. Those who believe that people who use drugs are not hurting anyone but themselves are wrong. Drug abuse affects the moral, social, and economic fabric of the society. An addict perturbs the entire family. The money spent on drugs goes into the hands of one of the most ruthless lots– the death dealers. These drug traffickers, die hard criminals, are also murderers. They are terrorists as well. They are the people who are financing the death and destruction of the young.
The campaign against drugs should remain a national priority as long as we are faced with the problem. However, the war should not be on paper, neither should it be treated as a political necessity. Without debating and knowing how this war should be waged, no matter how many advisers are appointed or seminars and international conferences are held, we will remain in the grip of a worsening crisis. Our victory depends on the collective will of resisting the factors that contribute to the spread of this menace.
The writers, specialising in studying narco-terrorism and global heroin economy, are authors of Pakistan: From Hash to Heroin and its sequel Pakistan: Drug-trap to Debt-trap.