In recent months, the Sindh government has been focusing more on the problem of growing drug abuse. It is paying special attention to curb the increasing substance abuse in educational institutions in urban areas. The government has admitted that the penetration of drugs into schools has reached alarming levels and the trend needs to be arrested. The increasing trend of tobacco smoking among young boys and girls might give a fairly good idea of the level of substance abuse prevalent among these people.
It is an irony that when educated middle-aged people and the elderly are giving up smoking having been convinced of the grave consequences of the habit the younger generation has taken to smoking in a big way. Examples are set from above and those below follow them. The older generation says they took to smoking after they saw their elders smoking. Now things are going in the reverse direction. The younger generation is not paying heed to anti-smoking and anti-drug campaigns. They start smoking and substance abuse just for the heck of it. Gradually they are addicted to the bad habits. Both habits are harmful to health and lead to premature death.
The chief minister has formed a high-powered task force to prevent drug penetration into schools. The task force is to work in close coordination with Anti-Narcotics Force personnel in K-P and Balochistan. Heroin and cannabis are smuggled in from Afghanistan, cocaine from South Africa and ice from other countries. There is a need to keep a strict check on the long Pak-Afghan border. The chief minister also suggested the setting up of a committee under the health department to work for rehabilitation of addicts. All stakeholders will be taken on board so that the intensified campaign against drug abuse and drug peddling can give the desired results.
It’s a paradox that both affluent and indigent classes are almost equally afflicted by dug abuse.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2019.