Friday, August 4 [SNN] Jammu and Kashmir has seen an exponential increase in the drug use. According to official data shared by the Central Government in Parliament, the number of people affected by drug abuse in Jammu and Kashmir has reached nearly 10 lakh, which is around 8% of the total population of Jammu and Kashmir.On 4 August 2023 the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment has conveyed to the Parliament of India that approximately 13.50 lakh drug users are estimated to be in Jammu and Kashmir, with the majority falling within the age range of 18 to 75 years.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Jammu and Kashmir has 60000 drug addicts. In last three years there has been an increase of 1500% in the use of drugs.In March 2023, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment stated that approximately one million individuals in the Union territory were grappling with substance abuse. The ministry also revealed that over 50% of these individuals were specifically addicted to opioids.As per a survey carried out by the Jammu and Kashmir administration last year, over 52,000 individuals in Kashmir acknowledged their heroin usage. The survey findings revealed that, on average, a user spent approximately 88,000 rupees ($1,063.54; £860) per month to sustain their drug habit.
According to the doctors at the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, there has been a transition observed in drug usage patterns. Specifically, there is a shift away from using medicinal opioids like Codeine, SP, Tramadol, and Tapentadol, towards the more potent and dangerous hardcore drugs, predominantly intravenous (IV) heroin.
According to the survey report, treatment and specialist interventions were in short supply. The Drug de-addiction centres have been flooded in recent years.Most of the patients that are admitted in these centres are Heroin addicts. In Kashmir, there are limited private institutions, and the region has just two public drug rehabilitation centers situated in Srinagar – one being IMHANS, and the other operated by the police. Additionally, the government has established Addiction Treatment Facility Centres (ATFCs) in every district. However, ATFCs differ from drug rehabilitation centers as they do not provide admission facilities. Instead, they function as small clinics with one doctor, a counselor, and a nurse, dedicated to treating patients dealing with addiction issues. Based on official statistics, the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (IMHANS) in Srinagar, a distinguished rehabilitation center, witnesses an average of 150 fresh drug addiction cases every day. Out of these, approximately 70 cases are returning patients seeking follow-up care, while the rest are entirely new cases. It’s worth noting that around 15 of these daily cases, constituting 10 percent of the total, are teenagers.
According to the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, in the age group of 10 to 17 years, an estimated 1,68,700 children in Jammu and Kashmir are involved in drug use. The substances being used by these children include Cannabis, Opioids, Sedatives, Cocaine, Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS), inhalants, and Hallucinogens [SNN]