Kashmir Youth Sink Deeper Into Drug Pit
27 January 2008
Kashmir: A new survey conducted by Government Psychiatric Hospital in rural areas of the south Kashmir has broken the myth that urbanisation and globalisation lead to drug abuse. It has found that around 17% of rural youth are addicted to different substances ranging from boot polish, cannabis, narcotic pentozocine to solvents. Around 3,000 people, mostly male respondents in the age group of 17–35 years, were covered by the survey in three areas of south Kashmir. “We found people were taking opium, codeine, pentozocine, cannabis, spasmo-proxivon and solvents like boot polish and glue. Most are easily available in the drug stores. It was also found that smoking was the gateway to substance abuse,” said Dr Arshad Hussain who led the survey. Though there was no specific cause identified, the surveyed youth were either victims of domestic violence, chronic stress, unemployment and nuclearisation of families. “We intend to conduct a follow-up of the survey which will pin-point the exact cause of substance abuse among rural youth,” said Dr Arshad. Sociologists working on the subject say youth, either rural or urban, are frustrated channelise it by taking to drugs. “The family system is crumbling in Kashmir and modernisation coupled with turmoil and unemployment has caused frustration among the youth. We need to have a social movement to stem the rot, otherwise things will spiral out of control,” said Dr Khrusheed-ul-Islam, assistant professor at Institute of Management and Public Administration. Alarmed by the spread of the drugs, J&K police too have stepped in to help the people in south Kashmir. “We have launched an awareness drive in our area. We have organised de-addiction camps for the youth to help them to get rid of drug addiction,” said Hemant Kumar Lohia, deputy inspector general of police, south Kashmir range.