Over half of drug-addicted women are educated: report

Narcotics Control Division says govt shelved plan for rehabilitation of female victims of substance abuse

Iftikhar Chaudhry February 02, 2018
Narcotics Control Division says govt shelved plan for rehabilitation of female victims of substance abuse PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Over half of women drug addicts in Pakistan are educated, according to a recent report of the narcotics division.

Taking note of the dangerous trend, the former government had announced a rehabilitation programme for the affected women, but the project has yet to be implemented.

The report available with Daily Express states that the current government had abandoned the plans to rehabilitate women victim of substance abuse.

According to available documents, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government had set up a ministry of narcotics control and among other duties it was assigned to create awareness against drug abuse particularly among women.

Owing to lack of facilities and social barriers, women find it almost impossible to seek help in cases of addiction.

Therefore, the past government had not only planned Narcotics Control Division to set up rehabilitation centres, but also start a series of seminars and awareness events sensitising women against substance abuse.

According to report, the number of drug-addict women is rising at an alarming rate, which warrants immediate action from the state and government functionaries.

The report states that among the drug addict women the division profiled, at least 53 per cent were educated. While hinting at the scourge of easy availability of drugs on campuses, the report asserted on government to take preventive measures.

It said that majority of women addicts belong to educated metropolitan communities. Out of the total number of women drug addicts it interviewed, 53 per cent happened to be college or university graduates while 17 per cent were matriculate, middle or primary pass.

A whopping 43 per cent of all addicted women were married, 20 per cent of which have been married for 12-15 years. The figures again point towards access to narcotics and a certain social acceptability of addiction rather than getting professional help for rehabilitation.

According to the report, 49 per cent of women get their drugs supplied from their friends, while 19 per cent of the others get them from their neighbourhood suppliers.

Shelved project

Taking note of the issue, the former government of Pakistan People Party had announced a project for rehabilitation of married women addicts. The project was launched on the premise that women victims of drug abuse will affect their whole families. Hence, the government tasked the Narcotics Control Division with the challenge to organise extensive seminars, workshops and awareness campaigns related to drug prevention and control.

The programme aimed to dilute stigma related to drug addicts and rehabilitate affected women and transform them back into productive members of the society. The programme proposals were however kept in files for years with no practical implementation.

According to sources, PPP in its tenure had operated a now-defunct Ministry of Drug Control on ad hoc basis. However, no significant progress has been made in this regard by the present government.

(Translated by Faisal Arshad) 

Published in The Express Tribune, February 2nd, 2018.