In a survey of 500 drug users in Karachi, researchers found that the most commonly used substance was cocaine – but it was just 19% of the whole.
These findings were published in the Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal by H. Ali and colleagues of the Ziauddin College of Pharmacy, Ziauddin University as “Profile of drug users in Karachi City, Pakistan”.
The survey included a descriptive questionnaire to identify the socioeconomic profile and beliefs and practices of the 500 drug users The most commonly used drugs were cocaine (19%) and crack-cocaine (15%), followed by amphetamines, (11%), alcohol, caffeine, barbiturates and benzodiazepines (10% each).
According to the World drug report 2000, from the United Nations Drug Control Programme, Pakistan is one of the countries hardest hit by the narcotics industry. According to a survey in 2005, there were about 3.5 million drug abusers, and the numbers were growing at an annual rate of 7%. An examination of the social and demographic correlates of drug users in Karachi revealed that 71.5% were aged less than 35 years, with the highest proportion in the 20 to 30 year group.
The most commonly used drugs were cocaine (19.0%) and crack-cocaine (15.0%), followed by amphetamines (11.0%), alcohol, caffeine, barbiturates and benzodiazepines (10.0% each).
Most of the individuals had poly-drug addiction. Nasal inhalation was reported to be the most frequent mode of administration of drugs (31.6%), followed by smoking (28.0%), oral (19.6%) and parenteral routes (8%). About 12.8% used a combination of oral and parenteral modes.
Most drug users (67%) obtained their drugs from an unknown person, while 23% obtained supplies from a friend and 10% from a pharmacy.
“Key psychological factors leading to drug use were problems with parental or marital relations or the break-up of a relationship (45%),” the researchers wrote. Drugs were seen as an escape from stressful life events for 28% of people or feelings of failure (18.2%). Many drug users blamed the origin of their drug use on bad social influences (47%) or socioeconomic problems (23.4%).
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2011.
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