ISLAMABAD: June 26 is observed as World Drug Day. Sadly, Pakistan is notorious not only for terrorist related incidents but also for illicit drug trafficking. The United Nations Office on Drug and Crime presented its annual drug report recently, which says that Pakistan’s annual heroin market is worth $1.2 billion. With more than 90 per cent of the world’s opium being produced in neighbouring Afghanistan, Pakistan becomes the main route for opium to be supplied to the world. According to government sources, 600,000 people enter into drug abuse in Pakistan annually.
Drug addiction is a chronic disease and denial is one of the hallmarks of all such ailments. The government, as well as private addiction treatment facilities, must provide incentives to drug abusers so that they are willing to be treated. Judges should refer drug addicts for treatment rather than sending them to jail where drugs are easily available. Most drug addiction treatment centres are located in big cities. The need of the hour is for treatment facilities to be established in small cities and towns. At the same time, incentives for professionals in this field should be provided. Currently, they lack training facilities.
Dr Tallat H Abid
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2011.