Drug addiction is an issue that many countries are facing all around the globe. However, the use of such drugs by the youth of a country is alarmingly dangerous and has adverse effects on the community as a whole.
Drug Abuse is Rampant in School, Unis in Major Cities
In October 2016, an NGO reported that about 53% of the students in leading private school chains are addicted to various kinds of drugs in Islamabad. Since these private schools ask for huge sums as fees, most of the students belong to wealthy backgrounds and affordability is not an issue.
Similarly, a recent study which included 10 schools and 2 universities from Lahore revealed that 57 percent of students reported the use of at least one drug.
According to a UN report, there are 7.6 million drug addicts in Pakistan; 78% male and 22% female. These addicts increase at a rate of 40,000 per year putting Pakistan amongst the top drug abusing countries in the world. The most disturbing fact is that the average age of heroin users is below 24 years. The actual number of drug abusers is much higher than what the UN reported according to government figures.
Evidence of Drugs in Schools and Universities
What was previously backed by surveys and studies is now coming to light as drug abusers and peddlers are getting caught red-handed around their educational institutions.
Following the alleged death of a LUMS student due to drug intoxication, several more were caught from Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU). The dean of QAU admitted that students were using local tablets, liquor, hasish and heroin. There was evidence of such large scale drug abuse in these institutions that the Senate’s standing committee on Interior and Narcotics has direct the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) and the police to start a combing operation at the QAU.
A 17-year old student from Islamabad was forced into rehabilitation in August 2016. He was one of many who are currently being rehabilitated in the city over heroin use. The drug abuse has also led to several rehabilitation centres being opened throughout Islamabad.
The ANF has already arrested a gang leader who was involved in peddling marijuana, LSD, and other imported high-end drugs to students from schools and universities. The criminal was caught red handed with 27 tokens of weed and 32 Blotters of LSD worth Rs 153,100 which he used to sell in a week at a price of Rs. 3,300 and Rs. 2,000 respectively. He used to distribute drugs in Iqra University, NUST, COMSATS, Roots school, QAU and several others.
What’s in Hold for the Future
It seems the interior ministry is taking the matter seriously. However, we are yet to see if the real criminals, with power, money and influence, behind these small scale distributors get apprehended. These backers allegedly belong to political parties and are back by high ranking officials.
According to a recent news report, a crackdown against the use of narcotics will start from today and ANF has been tasked with the operation.
The federal and provincials governments need to pick up in this regard. CCTV cameras need to be a must near all educational institutes. Universities and these expensive private schools have to be made accountable if students are found abusing drugs. With the enormous budgets that they have, it is certainly one of their duties.
Institutes also need to educate the students on the adverse effects of these drugs for them, their future and their families. The government needs to make an example of the criminals who are involved with drug distribution and playing with the future of Pakistan.