Drug menace has worsened in Kashmir with a considerable increase in the number of youths including children being affected, who have been admitted to the drug de-addiction centres. According to Jammu and Kashmir Police chief Dilbag Singh, drugs are being smuggled into Kashmir from the Punjab and Jammu borders.
Singh also blamed Pakistan for playing a dirty game of spoiling the youth by giving arms training and then making them addicted to drugs. He said, “they are repeating the same dirty game that they played in Punjab” adding, “We had some good seizures too. We know that sale proceeds of the drugs are pumped into funding terrorism and, therefore, we have been extra vigilant about it and taking efforts to curb it,”
Karnah in North Kashmir, Anantnag in South Kashmir and some areas of Jammu were the main areas said to be affected. Dr Mohammed Muzzafar Khan, head of a drug de-addiction centre told PTI, “Earlier, we used to see boys aged 18 and above (addicted to drugs) but now there are cases of 12 and 13-year-olds and the nature of drug abuse has changed as well. Earlier, it was charas or medicinal opioids but now heroin is replacing them.” Khan has informed that the drug menace has spread across Kashmir including both rich and the poor and that earlier they required de-addiction centres whereas now they need a medical emergency facility because cases of heroin overdose were being seen unlike before.
He said youths get addicted to heroin quickly and within days become dependent on injections to inject drugs intravenously. Khan added that the situation on the ground has become worse as more and more young boys are getting addicted to narcotics.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration had earlier noted that there were at least 6 lakh residents affected by drug addiction in the region. Officials have pointed out that J-K is located in the vicinity of the “Golden Crescent”, a name by which South Asia’s opium-producing countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan were known. Drugs from the “Golden Crescent” produced 80 per cent of the world’s opium and was considered as the prime source of the illicit drug trade.
Earlier this year, Jammu and Kashmir police had seized a huge narco-terror module in Kupwara, evidently sponsored by Pakistan. Three terrorists of Lashkar-e-Taiba were reportedly arrested along with the drugs and loads of cash in Handwara division.
In October this year, a Pakistani smuggler was arrested at the Amritsar border in an operation led by the BSF battalion 144 and 6 kg of heroin was recovered. The smuggler was identified as Kashi Ali and six packets of heroin were recovered from him.