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Alarming; Youth are prone to drugs in tribal areas

Drug-dealers in Fata, in large number are dealing for differing kinds of drugs and they smuggle it to many other cities of Pakistan and neighbour countries.

Rehan is a 17 years old drug-addicted young man who belongs to Tirah valley of Khyber Agency of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). He has a shocking story how he got addicted to drugs.

He told Tribal Post about his drug-addiction. “My father is a hashish dealer. He stores Hashish at home. I used to steal hashish of my father’s homebased store for my friend daily. Finally, I myself became addicted to hashish,” he said.

“It was in 2008; I was grazing cattle in mountains. I was alone, as my friend did not come that day. Despite I did not know how to prepare hashish; I filled cigarette with hashish and smoked. Thus, I became a regular smoker of hashish,” said Rehan who is now under treatment at Dost Welfare Centre, Peshawar.

Rehan became addict of drugs from his father’s drug store at home.

Many more like Rehan have addicted to drugs and their number is shockingly increasing day by day in ‘the war and terror hit tribal areas’.

Since Afghan-Jihad era (1979), Pakistan tribal belt is home to ‘gun and drug culture’. Today, drugs-dealers in Fata, in large number are dealing for differing kinds of drugs. They not only use themselves, but also smuggle to many other cities of Pakistan and neighbour countries.

Khyber Agency is known for drug business that has put a deep impact on local community.

Resident of Malagori village of Khyber Agency 18 years old Umar was brilliant student. He obtained more than 70% marks in his annual examination. Later on, he became an addict of drug and now he is under treatment at Dost Welfare Organization.

“During school days, I had a neighbour friend who is hashish smoker. His friendship made me also a hashish smoker. In morning instead of going to school I used to give company to my friends and smoke hashish,” Umar told the Tribal Post.

Jamrud jail is more vulnerable to drugs like ‘ice’ where prisoners get it easily.

“My family members got fed up with me, and sent me to a Jamrud Jail. In Jail, I got addicted to ice (meth). The situation at Jamrud jail is worse where prisoners uses drug,” Umar revealed adding that his elder brother brought him for treatment to the Dost Welfare Organization in Peshawar. “Now, I am not using drug, and feeling better. Hopeful to get rid of it forever,” he said.

“Ice” is a man-made drug, unlike cocaine or hashish which comes from plants. ‘Ice’ is a synthetic chemical made from ephedrine through a chemical process.

Use of different kinds of drugs is very high in KP and militancy hit tribal areas. These people inclination towards drugs is said to because of its close location to Afghanistan, which serve as an easy route for drug smuggling.

“Chars” (hashish) smoking is the most common used drug which thousands of youth are addicted to.

KP’s Anti Narcotics Forces official told Tribal Post that World’s 75% Opium are produced in Afghanistan used for making heroin. Each year, more than 140 Ton Opium is smuggled through Fata and Baluchistan to Pakistan.  About 20% opium is seized by the government every year, while the remaining either used internally or smuggled to Gulf countries America and Europe etc. In whole world, 40% heroin is smuggled through Pakistan, 34% through Iran, and 24% are smuggled via Central Asia, Russia to Europe.

“For 2.4 million drug patients in Fata and KP, there are only 150 bed facilities at different hospitals,” said Aziz u Din associated with Dost Welfar Organization working for rehabilitation of drug patients.

“Since 1992, Dost Welfare Organizations has two hospitals at Hayatabad and Shahi Bala, Peshawar of 800 beds. So far, 40,000 patients are given treatment. We are lacking funds, and demanded for more from provincial government of KP,” Aziz u Din told the Tribal Post.

While explaining how the drug-addicted persons are treated, Aziz u Din told, “For three months, patients go under treatment, and kept under special check-up for one and half year. Only use of medicine is not a cure but such patients need proper environment, and company of good friends, family.”

Aziz U Din added, “Dost Welfare Organization fund use was audited by an Islamabad based firm which stated in its report successes of Dost Welfare hospitals. Here ratio of successful treatment of patients is 52%, which is 15 to 25 percent internationally. This is a big success, and deserves further support of government.”

Today, Trend of using drug is changed a lot. Older people are using heroin, hashish and opium while youth is inclined towards ‘Shish smoking and Ice’.  Both male and female students of universities are also addicted to drugs. The seriousness of matter can be judged by the fact that Peshawar High Court has asked the provincial government to submit report about use of drugs in Educational Institutions.

According to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Health Department, “about 2.4 million people are using different kinds of drugs. Pakistan’s Senate Standing Committee for Anti-Narcotics says in its report that 10.9% of total population is using different kinds of drug in Fata and KP. Some 140,000 are using heroin and 84,000 are using ‘Opium’.  The report informs that number of drugs-addicted persons is increased by 4% every year in Pakistan.

As per annual report of the United Nations’ Anti-Narcotics Agency, 10% people are using different kinds of drugs in Pakistan. In KP and Fata, people of age 15 to 65 are using drugs.  About 4.7% are using Hashish, 5.8% are using different types of anti-pain medicines and 2.4% are using sleeping tablets.

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