Drug rehab

Projects like Drugs Free Peshawar campaign needed across the province


August 29, 2022

Pakistan has long been struggling with a severe drug problem, and the abuse of cannabis and heroin is rife across the country. Drugs are made available through mafias, at times with the help of LEAs, as dealers tend to hit educational institutions as well as factories and workplaces. Apart from the oblivious consequences of drug abuse, where families and lives are destroyed, the high rate of the use of injection drugs has sparked fear of an HIV epidemic. While the problem has drastically increased over the years, response from government officials has been minimal with little to no achievement.

The recent success of the Drugs Free Peshawar campaign — providing free of cost rehab — initiated by K-P Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has stressed the need to replicate the same in other districts of the province. This shows that focused efforts can go a long way in curbing our country’s long-standing problems. Under the programme, some 1,200 drug addicts were nabbed, out of which 143 tested positive for HIV and other diseases. About 1,100 of them were soon reunited with their families after a three-month detoxification and cleansing. The citizens of Peshawar must respond by not stigmatising these addicts and instead creating a safe space that urges them to come forward. Even though there is still a long way to go as the task at hand is huge and difficult, other provinces should follow suit and start conducting research of drug abusers and hotspots to tackle in their own regions.

There is, however, the grave issue of easy availability of harmful drugs. A separate operation under the same banner must be conducted to dismantle drug mafias and put an end to this menace once and for all. This project will indeed take up massive time, effort and financial resources. Therefore, funding opportunities must also be sought for sustainability purposes.

 

Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2022.

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