Paradise on earth has become a new haven for drug addicts. A whole new generation is falling apart by the drug abuse in the restive Kashmir Valley. Charas, brown sugar, cocaine, cannabis, psychotropic drugs et al are the new weapons of mass destruction for the youth in Jammu and Kashmir.
Figures released by J&K Police reveal around 2,574 kilograms of cannabis and its derivatives, 11,000 bottles and 17,000 tablets of psychotropic prescription drugs were seized in 2013. Police have arrested 247 persons involved in illicit drugs related activities and registered 227 cases under narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances (NDPS) act in Kashmir Zone in 2013.
This year so far, 1,000 kilograms of cannabis and its derivatives, 115 kilograms of brown sugar and about 1,600 bottles and 14,000 tablets of psychotropic prescription drugs were recovered by police in Kashmir Zone. Police have registered 113 cases of NDPS Act and arrested 147 persons in 2014 so far this year.
Waking up to the menace, J&K police have launched massive drug de-addiction drive coupled with awareness campaign. J&K police has opened three de-addiction centers in Srinagar, Baramulla and Anantnag since 2008. "These centres have about 30 qualified staff comprising psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, medical officers, counsellors, social workers and yoga therapists," said Abdul Ghani Mir, inspector general of police, Kashmir Zone.
Police said 11,000 drug addicts were treated by this centre from 2008-2014. Around 200 awareness programmes have been conducted so far.
What has infused a new life to the war against drugs is the separate campaign launched by Muslim clergy and separatists. Leading the campaign is the chief cleric of Kashmir and moderate Hurriyat Conference chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who has called for the social boycott against the drug traffickers in the Valley. "Thousands of Kashmiri youth are addicted to drugs and other substances. charas and hasish is being openly cultivated in fields like any other normal crops at many a places. There should be a social boycott against those people who are involved in this trade," Mirwaiz said.