Alarming spurt in footfall of drug addicts

Quite unfortunate to learn, based on authentic survey, that among chronic drug addicts in the state, 25000 are in Kashmir division alone and the substances used include cannabis, opioid, cocaine, amphetamine stimulants, inhalants, sedatives, hallucinogens in addition to alcohol etc. ‘Excelsior’ has continuously been voicing concern over this very unfortunate but dangerous path treaded over by those people who have been trapped by the menace which apart from the main two capital cities, was spreading its tentacles across the State but the administration was not equipping the concerned agencies with enough infrastructure to effectively deal with the greatest challenge the state was facing, next only to the scourge of terrorism.
Two pronged firm and assertive policy was imperative to deal with the fast spreading of the menace, one- effectively smashing the well organised existing network of drugs trade and two – effective and strong infrastructure of de-addiction and preventive measures to be employed by the concerned agencies. State High Court is monitoring de-addiction steps being taken which induces imminent hope that a firm check could result on more people especially the vulnerable young falling in the booby trap of the poison that gave the kick of irreversible smooth gradual doom and retrieval of the addicts from the morass of precarious effects of drugs could be ensuresd. It is a welcome step towards the direction of fighting the problem that Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education has, in compliance to an earlier order of the court, arranged to place before the court the action plan towards ‘Drug de- addiction and Rehabilitation Centres in Jammu and Kashmir.
That the Health Department has admitted that the drug abuse is on the high stage in Jammu and Kashmir and hence the issue was of a serious nature, an action plan had thus been formulated by the Department. Agreed, under the strict monitoring of the court, this could become possible but it was to be seen how effective and on consistent pattern de-addiction centres were not only opened at more places including upgrading such centres at SKIMS, MCH and all medical colleges in the State to show their added numbers alone but whether they were put on professional operational mode by providing the requisite manpower and the much needed other infrastructural support. That precisely was most important. We wish the provisions of the said policy to treat addiction cases at all district hospitals where specialists were duly available could be implemented in the right spirit to reap the desired results. District Mental Health Programme must accord priority to the great humanitarian mission to save lives and their families from the trauma of the effects of the drugs abuse.
At least, arranging mass awareness campaign against drugs abuse, if started in the right earnest and monitored effectively could have brought about encouraging results coupled with strict watch against drug merchants and conduits, by law enforcement agencies in plain clothes around educational institutions, offices and other vulnerable places would have definitely made a dent. Implementation of the stringent Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act against the offenders was more required now than before and effective prosecution and high conviction rates would wreak havoc with merchants of drugs and narcotic substances, necessary amendments required in view of more substances used but not covered under the existing Act should be looked into. Since now mass awareness using media and internet services has been envisaged in the policy, we hope that the momentum would only gain ascendency and not get slackened after some time looking to the enormity of the challenge.


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