There’s an eye-opening story covered by The Express Tribune’s journalist, Umer Farooq, that goes into detail about the issue of drug addiction in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). Umer Farooq writes about a few men in the province and the lives they lead now, after having turned into addicts.
He interviewed them personally and got some insight on the matter. One particular man told him how he couldn’t participate in his own daughter’s wedding as he was so numbed by the heroin that he felt like a guest, sitting in the corner. Let that sink in. Another man was so high at his daughter’s wedding that he barely even remembers it. The same man does not remember how his children moved abroad. He speaks of how his wife has never been treated well by him but she still hasn’t left his side. He claims to love her, but cannot ever fully show it because the drug takes over his life and he would rather get high than mend his relationship with his wife or children.
Families split, love is lost, children are forgotten and friends are not around when a person falls into the abysmal state of drug addiction. This is not only common in K-P, but the world over. The real question is: what can we do to make things better? What can we do to create hope in the lives of those who have fallen deep in this well?
I am, personally, a believer of spreading awareness. Whether it’s regarding sexual abuse, sexual health or, in this case, drug addiction, or rather any form of addiction.
The more frequently we speak about it, the more aware our younger generation will be. The more we educate them about the drawbacks, the more careful they will be while making decisions. Our society believes in brushing things under the carpet, we will hide our deep secrets, we will even hide our addiction. We will lie our way through, just to avoid facing the reality, but it’s time we quit living in a constant state of denial and actually start helping.
Our government, along with NGOs, should work towards building as many rehabilitation centres as possible. They should be accessible to all — the rich and the poor. Standards should strictly be maintained. I know it’s a long shot considering our country lacks basic medical necessities, but this too should be the focus of our society. Our future depends on it. If we don’t start now, it might get too late. Let’s not turn a blind eye towards this.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 7th, 2016.
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