Sunday, 23 November 2014

KP has highest number of drug users: report

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has the highest number of drug users in the country as 10.9 per cent of its residents have used an illicit substance during the past year, according to a report.
The report titled ‘Drug use in Pakistan-2013’ was prepared by United Nations Office on Drug and Crimes (UNODC) and Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control.
Launched at a ceremony here on Tuesday, the report said that approximately six per cent population of the country or 6.7 million people used any controlled substance including misuse of prescription drugs in the last year.
Sharing the key findings of the report, Mohammad Shahid said that age of the majority of the drug users was between 25 and 39 years. He said that 860,000 people in the country used heroin regularly and 320,000 were opium users while 1.06 million people, aged between 15 to 64 years, were using opiates.
“Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is on the route of the drug pushers, so easy availability is one major cause of the high prevalence of the drug use,” Mr Shahid said.

Says student hostels across the country are becoming hubs of drug abuse

Women were also using hashish, he said, adding that 45,000 women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were using drugs and painkillers. He said that student hotels all over the country were becoming hubs of drug abuse.
“Students, both male and female, are using drugs,” Mr Shahid said.
According to the report, 22 per cent women in the country are drug users. It said that 32 per cent women, who used drugs and painkillers, were uneducated while 35 per cent of them were educated. It said that 48 per cent of such women were married while 31 per cent were single women. The use of drugs by husbands or relatives was main reason of use of drugs by women.
Abida Naeem, a psychologist who treats drug addicts, said that facilities needed to be improved for detoxification and rehabilitation of drug addicts. She said that unemployment and economic pressures were main causes of drug abuse.
“There should be separate and enough treatment facilities for men and women in the province,” Ms Naeem said.
Shahram Khan Tarakai, provincial minister for health, said that provincial government was collaborating with UNODC for prevention of HIV among the people, who injected drugs. He said that government would continue to support UNODC in its efforts for prevention of drug use in the province.
Collier Brown, the officer in-charge of UNODC, said that the survey on drug use was conducted for the first time in Pakistan at provincial level.
The survey provides a comprehensive data on drug use and its implications on HIV transmission. The information provided in the report will form the baseline for future planning and designing of drug prevention and treatment programmes in the country.
The report said that 1.6 million people in the province used illicit substances in the past year whereas 47,000 people were injecting drugs. According to the survey, cannabis is the most commonly used drug.
Published in Dawn

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