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Drug Addiction in Pakistan

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Drug Addiction in Pakistan
پاکستان میں منشیات کی لت 
पाकिस्तान में नशीली दवाओं की लत

“What is addiction, really? It is a sign, a signal, a symptom of distress. It is a language that tells us about a plight that must be understood.”
 “Addiction is an adaptation. It’s not you–it’s the cage you live in.”
 “Drugs are a waste of time. They destroy your memory and your self-respect and everything that goes along with your self-esteem.”
“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”
 “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
“If you can quit for a day, you can quit for a lifetime.”
“The initial journey towards sobriety is a delicate balance between insight into one’s desire for escape and abstinence from one’s addiction.”

Drug Addiction in Pakistan

Drug addiction is a pervasive issue worldwide, and Pakistan is no exception. Although the problem is not very severe in most parts of the world, but it is going to take an acute turn in the near future. The revolution of drugs has hit society very strongly and the addiction to drugs as a serious problem has captured the attention of the most important body of the world, i.e., the U.N.O. The country, located at the crossroads of major drug trafficking routes, faces significant challenges in combating substance abuse. From opium and heroin to hashish, drugs of various forms are prevalent in Pakistan, affecting individuals across diverse socio-economic backgrounds.

Over the past 20 years, drug production and addiction have risen to the top of the list in Pakistan. Many of the country’s other human development issues, such as poverty, illiteracy and lack of basic health care, often overshadow the problem of drug abuse. However, drug use in Pakistan is increasing rapidly. In South Asia, Pakistan is the worst victim of drug trafficking.

The scourge of drug addiction in Pakistan, primarily fueled by neighboring Afghanistan’s illicit drug trade, has reached alarming proportions, affecting millions across the nation. According to estimates from the United Nations, a significant portion of Pakistan’s population, numbering in the millions, grapples with substance abuse, with cannabis ranking as the most commonly used drug. Particularly worrisome is the surge in injection drug abuse, raising concerns about the potential for an HIV epidemic.

Drug Use and Abuse

A report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shed light on the severity of the situation, revealing that approximately 6.7 million individuals in Pakistan are ensnared by drug addiction with 78% of them being men and the remaining 22% being women. Pakistan is one of the world’s most drug-affected countries, with the number of addicts growing at a pace of 40,000 every year. Shockingly, this addiction epidemic has surpassed the toll of terrorist attacks, underlining its grave implications for Pakistani society. Smoking often serves as the gateway to drug addiction, while movie portrayals of drug use influence university students’ behavior. Heroin, cocaine, and hashish are among the potent narcotics proliferating across the country, exacerbating the crisis.

Cannabis and heroin abuse proliferate due to their affordability and accessibility, with the majority sourced from neighboring Afghanistan, responsible for 75% of the world’s heroin production. The UNODC reports over 800,000 regular heroin users aged 15 to 64 in Pakistan, consuming an estimated 44 tons annually. Additionally, Pakistan serves as a transit route for 110 tons of heroin and morphine trafficked from Afghanistan to global markets, generating approximately $2 billion annually from illegal drug trade.

About 700 people die of drug-related complications and overdose in Pakistan every day, which translates to 250 000 deaths every year. In Pakistan, an estimated 7 million individuals take drugs regularly. Among them, 4 million use cannabis, and 2.7 million use opiates.

Pakistan serves as a major transit route for the illicit opium-poppy trade from Afghanistan to the rest of the world.

Drug Addiction among Students

 Government of Pakistan is trying to devise and implement a strategy to curb illegal drug use at educational institutions, about seven million young people in the country had fallen prey to drug addiction. This synthetic drug called ice (crystal methamphetamine) has penetrated schools and colleges. Drugs destroy children’s character, discipline, health and their future. Drug use at universities has been in the limelight since 2018 when it was first revealed in a survey that one in 10 university students was addicted to some form of banned drugs.

A significant surge in drug addiction among students of academic institutions especially elite institutions and universities has emerged as a severe social problem for modern Pakistani society. A research titled “Causes of Drug Abuse among University Students in Pakistan,” published in March 2020 by the Pakistan Social Sciences Review quarterly journal, highlighted peer pressure (96%), educational stress (90%), and curiosity (88%) as the top causes contributing to drug usage. The survey found that students living in university hostels and male students were more likely to use drugs than female students and those living in other types of accommodation.

Since 2018, drug use among university students has received attention, with a poll indicating that one in every ten students was addicted to illegal substances. In November 2018, two Quaid-i-Azam University students were arrested for having 3kg of hashish. Additionally, three Nigerian nationals were apprehended near the same university that month, and narcotics worth PKR8.5 million were seized from them. Police said they were drug peddlers who supplied drugs to universities. 

Drug Use and Abuse

In Rawalpindi, Airport police arrested a man for selling narcotics, including synthetic drugs, in schools and colleges on 23rd May, 2023.The accused, allegedly sold crystal meth (ice), narcotic pills, and hashish to students and teachers. Police monitored him for three months before apprehending him. They recovered 500 pills smuggled from the Netherlands, along with 3.5 kilograms of hashish and 200 grams of crystal meth. Superintendent stated that the accused used social networking websites to receive orders and supply drugs to various educational institutions.

In Lahore, police filed a drug peddling case against a Baloch student, apprehended from Punjab University’s New Campus, an 8th-semester BS Education student on October 27, 2023.

The findings reveal that students freely use drugs within universities, indicating a lack of stringent measures taken by academic institutions to tackle the problem on their campuses.

Drug addiction in youth is a serious issue. Teenagers are more prone to being addicted as they are full of adrenaline in that period. Unfortunately, despite the significant risk and numerous negative consequences, many teenagers consider drug and alcohol experimentation an essential part of growing up. Some teenagers are introduced to drugs through prescriptions and then begin to use recreationally. Some teenagers start experimenting with drugs due to peer pressure or after hearing a song about drug abuse. Some even get their hands on drugs by stealing from their parent’s medicine cabinets. 

Teenage drug addiction is a genuine risk, regardless of how an adolescent first begins using drugs. However, it is essential to know what drug addiction is.

Signs Indicating Drug Abuse in Children

According to a recent study, the youth comprises 29% of the total population in Pakistan. An estimate suggests that 3000 to 5000 street children are present in society. Many of them engage in drugs and survival sex. University and college students also engage in drugs within small groups.

Drugs are easily available on university grounds due to a lack of a monitoring system and, in some cases, the involvement of university staff. Students are frequently involved in the drug business in universities. Other factors, such as mass media, influenced students’ involvement in drug addiction.

Furthermore, addiction impacts students’ academic and social lives because they spend more time with drug addict friends, miss classes, have fewer contacts with their families, and spend the majority of their pocket money on buying drugs. 

Pakistan grappling with rising and formidable challenge of drug addiction

Why students take drugs

The most common drugs used by university students are morphine, opium, cocaine, hashish and cannabis and the most common causes of students falling into drug abuse are social or family stress, exam-related anxiety, availability of drugs and the negative influence of drug-using friends or hostel fellows, according to experts.

A research study,  “Youth at risk: The alarming issue of drug addiction in academic institutions in Pakistan”, published by ScienceDirect last month, interviewed addicted students at three universities. The authors said: “The results unveil that students consume drugs in universities without much restriction… as academic institutions have not taken serious steps to address the issue on their premises.”

It found that the major reasons for drug abuse were peer pressure (96%), educational stress (90%) and inquisitiveness (88%). It put the number of drug addicts in Pakistan at 7.6 million people, mostly young people and university students, of which 78% are male and 22% are female, and said this number is increasing by 40,000 per year. It noted that students in university accommodation such as hostels and men were more frequent drug-users compared to girls and those in other accommodation.

The study recommended that Pakistani authorities develop a comprehensive strategy to address drug addiction in academic institutions.

drug addiction in youth

Pattern of Drug Use

The prevalent drugs included cocaine (19.0%) and crack cocaine (15.0%), followed by amphetamines (11.0%), alcohol, caffeine, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines (10.0% each). Poly drug addiction is also common among individuals. Hash, contaminated Hash, cannabis (various strains), Ecstasy, Crystal Methamphetamine and Methamphetamine (Ice) are increasingly accessible, even to a younger demographic. Additionally, Oxygen addiction has emerged as a novel concern.

The majority of drug users (67.0%) sourced their drugs from an undisclosed individual, with 23.0% obtaining supplies from friends and 10.0% from pharmacies.

Stages Of Drug Addiction

Addiction happens in four stages.

  • Experimentation: Taking a drug out of curiosity or simply recreational purposes
  • Social Use: Taking drugs in social groups may be for social reasons
  • Problem: Taking drugs without any consideration of the detrimental consequences
  • Dependency: Taking drugs several times, daily, without any fear of the consequences

drug addiction in youth

Route of Drug Administration

Nasal inhalation emerged as the primary mode of drug administration (31.6%), followed by smoking (28.0%), oral consumption (19.6%), and injection (8.0%). Approximately 12.8% employed a combination of oral and injection methods.

Motivation for Taking Drugs

Before drug use, many drug addicts experience physical symptoms like sensations of “creeping,” dizziness, body aches, sleep disturbances, and headaches. Others experienced mood issues such as anxiety, anger, and depression. Following drug consumption, they recounted sensations of calmness, resolution of problems, or an overall uplift in mood.

Dance Parties Culture in Pakistan

The emergence of dance party culture alongside drug culture in Pakistan is a concerning trend that authorities are actively monitoring. Throughout the country, teenagers and young adults are indulging in all-night dance parties commonly referred to as “raves.” This trend, influenced by Western culture, has gained popularity among youngsters in recent years. Unfortunately, alongside this trend, the use of dangerous substances collectively known as club drugs such as Ecstasy, GHB, and Rohypnol is also on the rise.

Club drugs can lead to a variety of adverse effects, including hallucinations, paranoia, amnesia, and, in severe cases, even death. It’s crucial for individuals to be aware of the risks associated with these substances and to prioritize their health and safety when attending such events.

There have been reports of drug gatherings taking place at various farmhouses. Entrance tickets for hash drug parties are priced at Rs 3500 per person, while for hard drug parties, they can go up to Rs 13500, and sometimes even Rs 25000 per ticket. According to a Dunya News report, many young individuals were initially invited to these parties, where they were given small doses of cocktails, ecstasy tablets, Colombian cocaine, Molly, and MDMA. The intention behind this was to get them addicted so that they would purchase these drugs at high prices later. Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad were identified as major hubs for this drug trade, with areas like Johar Town, Satu Katla, Burki Road, Manawan, Gajju Mata, Bedian Road farmhouses, Defence, Shadman, Gulberg, and Nasirabad being hotspots for organizing such events. The mafia reportedly targeted youth from affluent families, secretly recording them during moments of vulnerability when they were heavily under the influence of drugs.

Drug abuse alarmingly high among KP youth - Newspaper - DAWN.COM

The Islamabad administration and interior ministry have uncovered a clandestine “Night Dance Party” allegedly offering drugs, shisha, and private rooms on January 15. The event organizers are providing a package deal at the dance party, offering drinks, narcotics (referred to as “ICE”), and private rooms to attendees, whether they come solo, as couples, or in groups. They are charging up to Rs12,500 per person. Additionally, the organizers claim to provide 100% security to participants to avoid any encounters with law enforcement.

On Saturday, police nabbed a seven-member group suspected of distributing drugs at dance events and educational institutions in Lahore. The suspects admitted to selling drugs at a variety of locations, including dance parties, farmhouses, guest houses, and educational institutions.

According to SP City, investigators confiscated 17.56 kilograms of marijuana worth over Rs4.3 million, 100 grams of ice, and various drug pills from the accused.

Pakistan: The Most Heroin-Addicted Country in the World

The rising prevalence of injecting drug users could create an HIV/AIDS crisis. Pakistan, a country already tormented by regional insurgencies, is fighting a losing battle against a different kind of foe: drug addiction. While cannabis was listed as the most commonly used drug in Pakistan, opiates (including opium and heroin) were a close second. It is estimated that 44 tons of processed heroin is smoked or injected in Pakistan each year – a figure that suggests a rate of use that is two or three times higher than in the U.S. An additional 110 tons of Afghani heroin is trafficked through Pakistan each year on its way to international drug markets.

Drug Abuse in Children

Causes of Drug Addiction in Pakistan

Several interconnected factors contribute to the prevalence of drug addiction in Pakistan:

Availability of Drugs

Pakistan shares a porous border with Afghanistan, one of the world’s largest producers of opium. The proximity to Afghanistan, coupled with the rugged terrain and porous borders, facilitates the trafficking of drugs into Pakistan. Heroin, opium, and hashish are readily available in the country, contributing to the ease of access for individuals seeking illicit substances. The roots of Pakistan’s drug addiction quandary ex­tend deep into the soil of neighboring Afghanistan, a pri­mary source of illegal drugs permeating the nation. The confluence of unemployment, a glut of low-skilled graduates, and a beleaguered education system creates a fertile ground, set­ting the stage for a burgeoning epidemic.

According to some experts, cheap and easy drug access is the leading cause of its increasing rate in Pakistan. Drugs are available in high amounts in our country.

Bad Company

Negative peer interactions, whether with friends, coworkers, or strangers, are a major contributor to drug addiction in Pakistan. Individuals are frequently subjected to peer pressure inside their social groups, where drug use may be tolerated or even encouraged. In such settings, the urge to fit in or earn approval may override worries about the repercussions of substance addiction. Moreover, interactions with colleagues or acquaintances who engage in drug use can expose individuals to new substances or reinforce existing habits. Additionally, interactions with strangers, such as drug dealers or individuals encountered in social settings, can eternalize drug addiction. The majority of respondents become addicted because of their friends and bad company. Friends, society and bad company were the main reasons for their addiction. Bad companies are also responsible for their addiction.

Economic Factors

Poverty, unemployment, and lack of opportunities are prevalent issues in Pakistan. For many individuals, especially youth, the bleak economic prospects serve as fertile ground for turning towards substance abuse. For many, economic instability fosters feelings of hopelessness, prompting recourse to substance abuse as an escape from harsh realities. Vulnerable individuals, enticed by the allure of quick money, may also be drawn into the drug trade. Moreover, social inequalities stemming from economic disparities exacerbate the issue, with marginalized communities disproportionately affected. The economic toll of addiction perpetuates a cycle of poverty, diverting financial resources away from essential needs.

Social Norms

In some communities, drug use may be normalized or even glamorized, exerting considerable peer pressure on individuals to experiment with drugs. Social gatherings and groups often play a significant role in initiating individuals into substance abuse. Moreover, cultural norms that stigmatize mental health issues and discourage seeking help further exacerbate the problem.

Socio-cultural Aspects 

You are more likely to develop a drug addiction if one or two drug users are in your social network. Because any organization’s shared values and beliefs always direct its members’ behavior and activities, socio-cultural influences significantly impact the development of addiction. If alcohol or drug use in that culture is ordinary, members of a culture become more prone to addiction. Keep your guard up, decline any offers of drugs, and confidently leave whenever they approach you.

Toxic Relationship

Most people associate toxic relations with romantic connections, although they can also exist in friendships, workplace partnerships, and family interactions. Drug addiction can result from toxic relationships. Because of an unhealthy relationship with someone, you might use drugs or alcohol to hide or deal with painful emotions.

Study Pressure

The study pressure causes a lot of stress. They keep looking for quick cuts, but they never succeed. They become depressed after failing an exam. Therefore, they might use a drug to make them feel better. You are more likely to use a particular drug if you notice that it improves your mood and performance.

Genetics

Your genetic makeup could make you more prone to addiction. A particular substance affects your body and mind in the same way that it influenced your forefathers. You have a significantly higher likelihood of developing a drug addiction if your parents or their parents used drugs in the past.

Lack of Awareness and Education

Limited awareness about the dangers of drug abuse and inadequate education on substance use prevention contributes to the prevalence of addiction in Pakistan. Many individuals, particularly in rural areas, may not fully understand the long-term consequences of drug abuse or know where to seek help. Addressing this lack of awareness is crucial in preventing substance abuse and promoting healthier lifestyles.

Stressful Life Events

Stressful life events can trigger drug addiction by prompting individuals to seek relief or escape from emotional turmoil. Whether grappling with trauma, financial woes, or relationship strains, the allure of drugs lies in their perceived ability to temporarily numb pain or distress. Chronic stress alters brain chemistry, heightening susceptibility to addiction and intensifying drug cravings. The cycle of stress and substance abuse becomes self-perpetuating, as continued drug use exacerbates stress levels. Individuals may turn to drugs as a coping mechanism to regain control, but this ultimately worsens psychological and social consequences.

Poor Marital Relations

Poor marital relations can be a significant contributor to drug addiction, creating a breeding ground for emotional distress and maladaptive coping mechanisms. Strained relationships, characterized by conflict, lack of communication, or emotional neglect, can erode individuals’ sense of security and belonging, driving them to seek solace in drugs. Substance use may offer a

temporary escape from marital discord or serve as a means of self-medication to numb feelings of loneliness, frustration, or inadequacy. Moreover, dysfunctional marriages can exacerbate underlying psychological issues, such as depression or anxiety, further fueling the desire for substance abuse as a coping mechanism. The breakdown of marital bonds can also lead to social isolation, removing vital support networks and increasing vulnerability to addiction.

The Feeling of Failure in Life

The pervasive feeling of failure in life can serve as a potent driver of drug addiction in Pakistan. In a society where success is often equated with societal status and financial prosperity, individuals who perceive themselves as failing to meet these standards may experience profound feelings of inadequacy and despair. Unable to cope with the overwhelming sense of disappointment and disillusionment, some turn to drugs as a means of self-medication. Substance abuse relieves the squeezing weight of failure and provides a fleeting sense of euphoria or relief. However, this coping mechanism ultimately exacerbates feelings of failure, perpetuating a destructive cycle of addiction.

Poor Parental Relations

Pakistan is a collectivistic culture in which the family is given priority as social and financial support is coveted. Family is the core for need fulfilment. This is why joint families prevail in which grandparents, parents, children, and their uncles and aunts all live together. Members make major life decisions with the approval from elders of the family as they are the primary support network.

3 Types of Signs Indicating Drug Abuse in Children

Poor family relationships contribute considerably to drug addiction in Pakistan. Dysfunctional family dynamics, which include neglect, abuse, or a lack of emotional support, produce an unstable and insecure environment for children and adolescents. Growing up in such surroundings can result in feelings of loneliness and low self-esteem. Furthermore, parental substance usage might normalize drug use, increasing the risk that children would try drugs themselves. Individuals who lack excellent parental role models and a supportive home environment may turn to drugs for escape to cope with the emotional anguish and trauma associated with bad parental relationships.

Family dynamics can be defined as the way a family is structured including the individual interpersonal roles played by the members within the family unit. Family dynamics is the basis for all individuals to learn how to cope with the challenges they might face in later life. Parental support and unconditional positive regard strengthen self-esteem and self-confidence, and their absence reduces them.

Drug abuse is often referred to as a family issue because of the serious negative consequences of addiction and because the importance of recovery affects not only the substance abuser, but also all the members of the family. Therefore a focus on the role of families is critical in understanding and preventing the destructive intergenerational cycle of substance abuse and addiction.

The parent–adolescent bond has indirect effects through religiosity, and family drug use. It was found that among family variables the two major variables were for bond to mother, followed by family drug problem. Bond to father, parental monitoring, and family aggression were relatively weak predictors of adolescent drug use. Since the bond to mother is stronger, adolescents feel closer to them and share their daily life routine, thus communicating frequently with their mothers. In Pakistani society a strong bond to mother is observed as fathers are seen as the authority figure. Poor communication within the family unit affects an individual’s indulgence in drug abuse.

After Prescribed Medications

After the legitimate use of prescribed medications, individuals may inadvertently find themselves grappling with drug addiction. Initially intended to alleviate physical ailments or manage mental health conditions, these medications can become a source of comfort, leading to dependence. What begins as a reliance on medical help can transform into a compulsive need for the temporary relief these drugs provide. The transition from therapeutic use to addiction blurs, leaving individuals trapped in a cycle of dependency that harms their well-being.

Symptoms of Drug Use and Abuse

The symptoms of drug use and abuse can be both behavioral and physical. Some of them have been listed below:

  • Constant itching in a specific area of the body
  • Impulsive pulling down of sleeves to hide marks
  • Slurred speech
  • Frequent sniffling
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Lack of interest in personal grooming
  • Bloodshot or red eyes
  • Pinpoint or dilated pupils
  • Abnormal puffiness
  • Flushed-out color

Behavioral signs

  • Skipping class and declining grades or some other regular complaints from school or college.
  • Drop in attendance and poor performance at work
  • Loss of interest in extracurricular activities and previous hobbies
  • Problem in memory
  • Borrowing or stealing money.
  • Acting isolated or engaging in some suspicious activities.
  • Confronts with family members and siblings.
  • Like drug-related things in music, clothing, and posters.
  • Demanding more privacy and spent more time in locked doors.
  • A sudden change in relationships and friends.

Psychological signs

  • Unexplained and totally confusing change in attitude.
  • Sudden mood swings and irritability
  • Angry outbursts or laughing at nothing.
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity or agitation.
  • Lack of motivation
  • Inability to focus
  • Appears lethargic or “spaced out.”
  • Fearful, withdrawn, anxious, or paranoid, without any apparent reason.

photo afp file

Impacts of Drug Addiction

The ramifications of drug addiction extend beyond the individual to affect families, communities, and society at large. The effects of drug abuse have far-reaching consequences. They not only affect the user him/herself, but also their families, and society as a whole. The work sector loses able-bodied individuals, which in turn affects the economy. The family’s role in the development of substance abuse is unique as the family simultaneously suffers from the direct consequences of the abuse, while also holding the potential to be one of the most powerful protective influences against it.

Health consequences

Drug addiction is associated with countless health problems, including infectious diseases (such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis), cardiovascular complications, respiratory issues, and mental health disorders. Injecting drug use, in particular, poses a significant risk of transmitting blood-borne infections.

The effects of drugs on your body and mind might change your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. People use drugs in many different ways and for many various reasons. When something is used frequently to the point where you crave it and become dependent on it, you are said to be addicted. If you are addicted, you might use the drug even when it is harmful. Drug addiction is simply a trap; once you get into it, it’s too difficult to come out of it.  Scientifically speaking, drug addiction is a complex neurobiological disorder, which affects a person’s brain and behavior in a way that they lose the ability to resist the urge to use drugs. 

Harmful Effects of Drug Use and Abuse on Health

Brain Damage and Stroke

Brain damage caused by drug or alcohol usage can vary from slight cell damage to serious physical damage, such as brain hypoxia caused by overdose. Some of these effects of drug abuse, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), stroke, and dementia, can be severe and/or long-lasting. Some other brain injuries that can occur as a result of excessive drug usage can be:

  • seizures
  • stroke
  • asphyxiation
  • respiratory arrest
  • hypoxic brain damage

 Heart Problems

According to the American Heart Association, drug abuse can have harmful consequences for the heart. It can cause disorders ranging from irregular heartbeats to heart attacks. Injecting illicit narcotics can also result in cardiovascular issues such as blocked veins and bacterial infections of the blood arteries and heart valves.

Drug Use and Abuse

 Liver Damage

Since the liver’s primary function is to drain out and neutralize toxic substances and poisons that enter the body, active drug addiction would effectively require the liver to work much harder than usual. Drug addiction can result in a variety of liver diseases, including hepatitis and cirrhosis.

Mental Health Issues

Drug abuse can worsen and even cause new symptoms of mental illness. Alcohol and drug abuse can also interfere with prescriptions such as antidepressants, anxiety meds, and mood stabilizers, making them less effective at treating symptoms and delaying recovery.

Social and Economic Costs

Addiction to drugs has a severe negative impact on society, taxing social services and preventing advancement in the economy. Addicts frequently struggle to keep a job, which reduces their output and creates volatility in the economy. Furthermore, there is a significant financial and emotional cost placed on families and communities.

Criminality

Organized crime, brutality, and corruption are among the criminal activities that are fueled by the illicit drug trade. The issue is made worse by a lack of effective governance and law enforcement, which gives drug gangs and traffickers relative impunity. In addition, those caught in the cycle of addiction might turn to criminal activity to support their drug use, which would feed the addiction-crime cycle.

Efforts to Combat Drug Addiction

Various stakeholders must be included in a multifaceted approach to address drug addiction in Pakistan. Pakistan must confront this burgeoning crisis head-on, with concerted efforts from both governmental and non-governmental entities.

Programs for Prevention and Awareness

Community-based initiatives, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and government agencies conduct public education campaigns on the risks associated with drug misuse. These initiatives encourage healthy lifestyles, increase knowledge, and provide people the power to make wise decisions about their drug use.

Rehabilitation and counseling must fully address the factors that caused a person to turn to drugs in the first place.

Treatment and Rehabilitation Facilities

Helping those who are addicted requires treatment and rehabilitation facilities that are both easily accessible and reasonably priced. Rehab facilities, both public and private, provide a variety of services, such as counseling, detoxification, and job training, to assist people in kicking their addictions and reintegrating into society.

Get Help

Drug addictions in youth of all kinds can be treated. Because addiction often affects many aspects of life, the best plans are comprehensive. Treatments will be aimed at assisting you or someone you know to stop seeking and engaging in their addiction.

Among the most common therapies are:

  • medications used to treat mental illnesses such as depression or schizophrenia
  • behavioral, talk and group therapies are all forms of psychotherapy
  • medical services to assist in the treatment of severe complications of addiction, such as withdrawal during detox
  • addiction case manager to assist in the coordination and monitoring of ongoing treatment
  • treatment for addiction in a hospital
  • self-help and support organizations

You can also seek evaluation from your primary care physician. The type of treatment recommended by a psychologist is determined by the severity and stage of the addiction.

A psychologist may recommend medication and therapy in the early stages of drug addiction in youth. In later stages, inpatient addiction treatment in a controlled setting may be beneficial.

A Pakistani drug addict self-injects heroin along a street in Karachi. - AFP/file

Consult a Psychiatrist for Treatment of Drug Abuse

Addiction psychiatrists are trained professionals that consult with patients to identify the causes of their drug or alcohol addiction. They can prescribe medication to manage withdrawal symptoms and treat underlying or co-occurring mental problems if necessary.

Law Enforcement Measures

To break up drug trafficking networks and take down illicit drug operations, law enforcement measures must be stepped up. This entails strengthening intelligence-sharing protocols, fortifying border security, and enacting harsher sanctions for drug-related acts. Furthermore, successful drug control plans depend on actions taken to combat corruption in law enforcement. 

International collaboration

International collaboration is essential in the fight against drug trafficking and addiction because of the transnational nature of the drug trade. Pakistan works together to combat the drug problem by exchanging best practices, exchanging intelligence, and implementing cooperative projects with bordering nations, international organizations, and funding agencies.

Conclusion

Drug addiction is a serious problem in Pakistan and is wreaking havoc on the younger population, leading to physical, mental, and emotional deterioration that has a big impact on social cohesion, public health, and economic growth. It undermines their potential, disrupts their lives, and poses a serious threat to their future prospects. It needs a multifaceted strategy that includes law enforcement, treatment, prevention, and international collaboration to effectively address this complicated issue. Pakistan can lessen the effects of drug addiction and clear the path to a stronger, healthier society by tackling the underlying causes of addiction, increasing awareness, and stepping up intervention efforts. Only through a comprehensive and proactive approach can Pakistan hope to stem the tide of drug addiction and safeguard the well-being of its citizens. With the increasing use of drugs, the government needs to introduce heavy penalties and severe punishment for those who are caught selling narcotics, especially those who sell it to youngsters.

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