Drug users in the spotlight: Govt to collect data on addicts and worst-affected areas

Authorities currently have no information on drug addiction.

Sohail Chaudhry August 25, 2011

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Bureau of Statistics will carry out a survey in a bid to determine the number of drug users in the country, The Express Tribune learnt on Wednesday.

Authorities currently have no data on the number of drug addicts or the areas most affected by drug use, an official said. He said that it was one of the major factors hindering the government’s ability to devise a strategy.

“Afghanistan is the prime source of drugs circulated in Pakistan,” he added. As much as 40 per cent of the drugs produced in Afghanistan are exported to various countries via Pakistan, the official said. “Since Pakistan is being used to facilitate this trade, the matter has become an even bigger challenge now for Pakistani authorities,” he said.

The Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS) has, therefore, been given this responsibility of collecting all the data. The official said that FBS has prepared a pilot project for ensuring effectiveness of the survey while a questionnaire has also been prepared. The official said that the survey will take about seven months to complete and would be conducted between December this year and June next year.

Narcotics Control Division Secretary Sohail Ahmed confirmed that a survey is being conducted by the government which will help the authorities in devising appropriate action. He said that foreign donor agencies, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, will be approached after the survey has been completed.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th,  2011.

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