Kashmir witnesses heroin epidemic, 95% addicts consume drug

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SrinagarThe surge in drug abuse among youngsters in Kashmir is a worrisome trend as cases are increasing at a rapid rate with female drug addicts coming to hospital for treatment.

Officials told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that Kashmir is suffering a heroin epidemic as most of the drug addicts who are brought to hospital for treatment are heroin abusers.

Dr Yasir Hussain Rather, a psychiatrist at Institute of Mental Health and Mental Health (IMHANS) told KNO that the drug addiction in Kashmir is increasing at an alarming rate as every day 10-15 new drug abusers, mostly heroin abusers, are being brought to the hospital.

He said that on an average hospital receives over 50 drug addiction cases every day which includes old cases which are coming for follow up treatment.

Rather said that the hospital received just around 100 drug addicts in 2012, “but we are now receiving 100 cases in two days and in the last two over 8000 drug addicts were received at the hospital.”

“There is a heroin epidemic as 95 percent cases are of drug abusers. The cases of death due to drug overdose are also because of overdose of heroin,” he said.

He said that due to needle sharing while injecting heroin, around 70 percent drug abusers received at the hospital are suffering from hepatitis C and there remains chances of HIV AIDS as well.

“We are witnessing drug abusers suffering from severe hepatitis C which affects their liver and adding to their health burden as the medicines to treat hepatitis C are very expensive,” he said.

He said that heroin addiction is a chronic disease and if they treat 50 patients, over 30 patients relapse and using heroin for a period of five year will definitely lead to destruction, devastation and untimely death.

“Now even female drug addicts are being received at the hospital, though their number is low yet but now the trend has also started,” Rather said.

“There is no recreational alternative available for the children in Kashmir as drug addiction isn’t a choice but in absence of any sports and recreational alternative, children are becoming addicts as we are witnessing mostly 15-30 year age group involved in it,” he said.

Rather said there is need to develop a healthy behaviour by promoting sports and recreational culture besides that parents must supervise their children as well as lack of supervision, communication, parental discord often leads to depression and later turns to become a drug addict—(KNO)

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