Srinagar, July 01: Mohammad Subhan, who resides in South Kashmir struggles to help his lone son overcome heroin addiction. His son, who is 27-year-old started taking drugs at the age of 17. Subhan, a shopkeeper by profession, wanted his son to become an advocate. However, all his dreams have almost vanished now.
“He initially started smoking along with his friends when he was in school and I got to know about it later. When he reached high secondary, he started taking Charas and later on consumed heroin. I came to know that he was introduced to a drug peddler by one of his friends in our village. Firstly, he was given drugs free of cost and then he started selling things at home like TV, bike for the drugs,” Subhan told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).
He feels helpless now. “I tried to stop him from taking drugs but failed. I once took him to drug de-addiction centre and kept there for a month. Once he returned home, he again started taking drugs. The drugs have destroyed lives of three members in our family, I, my son and wife,” he said. “My wife is also suffering from hypertension after seeing condition of our son. Sometimes he is lying on streets or roads,” he added.
The family says after taking drugs, he became more prone to aggressive behaviour, resorting to violence at home when denied money. He sold his TV and bike to buy drugs.
“Unemployment is the biggest reason for the youth to get hooked to drugs or joining militancy. Another reason is the easy availability. And the third reason is peer pressure, which means when one of the friends get involved in the abuse other friends getting attracted. Now school-going students are addicted to these substances”, said a doctor.
The Kashmir valley has had a history of drug use long before the armed conflict erupted in the late 1980s. Traditionally the Valley has had few cases of alcohol and heroin addiction while cannabis comprised the most commonly used drug with some social acceptance as “charas pends”, locally designated spots where cannabis was smoked by addicts, were neither unheard of nor hidden.
However, in recent years more and more individuals are reporting heroin use. According to a study released by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, about 4.91 percent of the state’s population uses opioids, mainly heroin, with about 2.1 percent dependent on the drugs while 1.31 percent of the population used cannabis with about 0.12 percent dependent on it. The Jammu and Kashmir state, it said, also had about 25,098 individuals who reported injecting drugs.