–Narcotics Control Ministry official says dept trying its best to deal with menace
ISLAMABAD: Despite an alarming surge in the use of drugs among the new generation, especially students of leading educational institutes, the authorities concerned have failed to take any sold steps to curb the menace, Pakistan Today has learnt.
As per the details, the non-serious attitude of the government towards the issue can be gauged from the fact that Ministry for Narcotics Control conducted a survey back in 2013 wherein it discovered that approximately 6 per cent of the population – 6.7 million people – between the ages of 15-64, are using recreational drugs, but took no tangible steps to tackle the issue.
In leading universities, where a majority of students belong to higher-income households, drugs such as crystal meth (ice), cocaine, hashish, heroin and LSD tablets have gained prominent popularity, a drug dealer, on the condition of anonymity, told Pakistan Today.
“Nowadays, ice and dancing pills are very common among the educated elites,” they said and added that the number of future doctors, who are supposed to save the people from such menaces, is the highest among addicts at educational institutions.
“Female students are trailing behind.”
On smuggling drugs, they said that ice was mainly brought to the country from Iran via Balochistan and from Afghanistan via Peshawar. “Dancing pills, on the other hand, are available within Islamabad.”
“It is a reference-based business and so drugs are only provided to trustworthy customers in a quantity small enough to be easily transported,” they said.
Speaking of the government’s inaction, they claimed that authorities were hesitant to launch a crackdown because most of the addicts were either “influential people or belonged to the upper class”.
According to the details obtained from the Ministry for Narcotics Control, the last survey of drug users in Pakistan was conducted with the collaboration of UNODC.
Out of the 6.7 million abusers, around 16.5% [1.1 million] people are 18 to 28 years old, the survey revealed.
Section officer of the Ministry of Narcotics Control, Akbar Ghani Khan Khattak, told Pakistan Today that the ministry was trying its best to control the menace and in this regard, awareness seminars were being organised in various educational institutes.
However, he admitted, that the ministry didn’t conduct any such seminars in the three leading universities in the federal capital.
To a question about the data of drug addicts, he said that they were still relying on the 2013 survey, but TOR [terms of reference] were being finalised for a fresh one that would be conducted sometime in 2019.
On the other hand, a senior official of the ministry, on the condition of anonymity, told this scribe that the department was doing “nothing” and no mechanism to maintain and share the data of drug addicts with the Health Ministry, police, ANF and educational institutes existed.
“The number of drug addicts in educational institutes is growing at an alarming pace and several cases have recently been reported.”