Drug abuse in Kashmir is increasing rapidly. Substance abuse among teenagers and young people is becoming a trend these days. Now women are becoming more and more involved in drug abuse and becoming peddlers as well.
According to the survey conducted by the United Nations Drug Control Program, there are about 70,000 addicts in Kashmir, who are mainly young people and students between the ages of 17 and 35, of whom about 4,000 are women, i.e. H. 31% are women.
Asiya (name changed) told Ground Report, “I started smoking marijuana. Basically, it was with my friends. I was a teenager and it looked so trendy and hip to me. That’s how I got into it. After that, I started taking pills” But I wasn’t addicted, I did it for fun. I mean, I enjoyed it. But once it started affecting my health I gave up the habit. But I still smoked normal Cigarettes, two or three times a day. It was all just for fun.”
Dr. Fazal-e-Roub, the registrar at the Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (IMHANS), said: “It’s certainly increasing a lot. Teenage or youth in Kashmiri indulges in substance abuse, including women who have had a tough childhood, what we refer to as adverse childhood experiences or trauma, who are more vulnerable or peddling substance abuse.”
He further said that “up to 2016 around 500 drug addicts were reported across Kashmir, but from 2019 to 2021 the number has risen to 23,000 and after that, the drug addicts are increasing day by day.”
Fazal went on to say that both married and unmarried women indulge in drug abuse. Married women indulge in substance abuse because their husband is a peddler or their husband is a drug addict or they also abused drugs before marriage, and unmarried women become addicted to it because of their psychiatric problems such as child abuse or drug dealers from which they originate.”
Fazal further said that before 2016 they were taking pills or opioids, but after 2016 the whole trend changed, now they’re taking heroin. “Hepatitis C virus (HIV) is a common disease that drug users suffer from because they swap needles when injecting and there is also a possibility of HIV-AIDS,” said Dr. Fazal.
Speaking anonymously to Ground Report, an official at the Institute of mental health and neurosciences, Kashmir (IMHANS), said “two of our female abusers died, one committed suicide and another died from the overdose.” One of our female drug abusers came into the rehabilitation centre and while asking her the reason behind taking substance abuse, She said I get addicted to drug abuse through medicine, but after checking her history, we learned her husband was a drug peddler.”
They further said, “premature birth or postnatal death or their babies after birth are transferred to intensive care unit and they have neonatal abstinence syndrome, due to lack of service providers, they lost their babies as they have no experience dealing with these patients.”
Dr.Yassir Rather, a psychiatrist at IMHANS, said: “Mental health issues are the main reason why women engage in this and they try to find the escape root to overcome this or we can say that lack of supervision is also one of them the main reason.”
He said: “To control drug addiction in Kashmir, we must destigmatize mental illness and trauma, raise awareness of drug addiction, and improve access to rehabilitation centers and community interventions.”
Wasim Kakroo, the clinical psychologist said, “Substance abuse is an addiction, a person will indulge in it when they cannot cope with the difficult emotions such as depression, anxiety or guilt.”
He continued: “Women are exposed to it through schools and colleges and you’re going to see these women who are substance abusers who belong to the upper-class families because they don’t pay much attention to their girls, or we can say neglected parenting.”
He added that substance abuse is not just a moral retreat, but a disorder in which a person’s biological, sociological and psychological parameters play a role. He also said that genetics also play their own role in substance abuse.
Dr Wasim Kakroo said that women are not as aggressive as men, which is one reason the rate of female drug addiction is not higher than that of boys, but the situation can involve them. He said: “A girl’s home environment, lack of supervisors, neglectful or authoritarian parenting, or peer group can lead her into substance abuse.”
Wasim also shared a case “where one of the patients, realizing she was adopted, started using drugs to get over it.
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