26th June – Int’l Day Against Drug Abuse

By: Jibran Ahmed Yousafzai

Every year 26th June is observed as the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Substance abuse and illicit trafficking of drugs is the evil responsible ruining the lives of majority of disoriented youth. This day as an event is celebrated worldwide with much conscious fervor to make people aware and emphasize the hazards of drug abuse and illegal trafficking as it poses great threat to the socio economic and political stability of the nation by disturbing the sustainable development.

Youth constitutes 66% (approx) of our total population. Drug abuse is rapidly increasing in our youth. Apart from heroin, cannabis, alcohol, opium and others drugs; nowadays there is also a horrendous rise in psycho-active and non-medical use of prescription drugs (Myth Amphetamine, tranquilizers, and sedatives). This may be related to the fact that young people tend to seek adventure, excitement, thrill and does not always realize the danger inherent in trying out drug.

A number of fundamental causal factors have been responsible for the rising trend of drug abuse. These may include childhood maltreatment, abuse and neglect, parental or familial substance abuse, divorced parents, parent child disturbed relationship, familial socio economic status, death of some dear one, lack of awareness, broken family system, peer pressure and easy availability of drugs in the market.

Another major cause is that the projection of drugs related fantasies through dark net/ dark media which create a magical environment in the young minds. Lack of student affairs societies is also a principal reason behind spread of drugs use among the students.

Drug abuse has a major impact on individuals and their families lives as well as the society and communities at large. Many un-healthy behaviors, frequently started during adolescence, a continue later in life. Whether or not someone become addicted to drugs depends upon genetic, environmental, and developmental factors. The consequences of drug abuse are far reaching which may include higher rates of tuberculoses, HIV/Aids, Hep B and C, heart failure, loss of productivity, physical injuries and even death due to traffic accidents, suicide and violence etc.

Parents, teachers and various student social organizations can help the students a lot by spreading awareness and organizing anti drug activities. Prevention is the process which builds up the resistance towards drug abuse. Parents are the most trusted channel of communication of thoughts and feelings for their children. There is nothing more important for parents than spending time, talking and listening to your children.

Trained and experienced Doctors, Psychologists and Social Workers are next line of our social defense against the proliferation of drugs in the society. Prevention programs involving families, schools, communities, and the media may prevent or reduce drug use and addiction. These programs include education and outreach to help people understand the risks of drug use.

At different educational institutes (Government and Private) awareness and training on diverse topics ought to be initiated which must not be limited only to overview of common illicit drug abuse in Pakistan but also including Pharmacological effects, psychoactive substances, stages of addiction, progression and relapsing nature of disease among co-occurring medical and mental disorders. These awareness sessions are way helpful in raising awareness and setting the evidence based knowledge and facts about the use of drugs.

ANF is a Federal Law Enforcement Agency, tasked with combating the narcotics smuggling and use within Pakistan since 1995. It works under the Ministry of Narcotics control. It has a strategic role in fighting against the drugs that enter Pakistan mainly through the long porous border with Afghanistan. ANF’s headquarter is situated at Rawalpindi, it has five Regional Directorates including Peshawar, Karachi, Quetta, Lahore and Regional Directorate North (RD North) with round the clock working police stations in the different dimensions of Pakistan. ANF has its own intelligence system, aimed at arresting the smugglers and drug traffickers.

ANF is doing its best it can and has significant successes in all three areas of operation i.e. Drug Supply Reduction, Drug Demand Reduction and International cooperation. Dedicated Men and women of ANF are fully committed to protect all compatriots from the peril of adding the cost of risk to their own lives. The organization has sacrificed 16 of its best enforcers to this cause. ANF is playing a leading role in mass awareness and community participation programs to educate the people against drug abuse. Drug demand reduction has always been an important segment of its strategies. It organizes different workshops, seminars, youth conventions, conferences, lectures and walks/ rallies against drug abuse. ANF has launched Youth Ambassadorship and Internship Program at universities/ college level to protect our youth from drug abuse and make our society drug free. ANF with its 3200 employees working tirelessly under the policy guidelines provided by the Govt and with the cooperation of allied countries, public and private functionaries including civil society and media.

ANF, besides many awareness ventures runs four Model Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre located at Islamabad, Karachi, Sukkur and Quetta. These rehabilitation centers are providing free of cost treatment services, food, residence and allied facilities to the patients.

Due to the emerging trend of drug abuse our nation, specifically youth, being the greatest asset of our country is getting badly affected. Having a sober and educated society rebuilds and nurtures the lives of youth without drugs.

Let’s Join hands with ANF today, to create a better tomorrow, in combating the menace of drug abuse by complaining/ sharing information against drug traffickers secretly at ANF helpline 1415.

Let’s develop our lives, our communities, our identities without drugs, let’s make our beloved Pakistan a “Drug Free” country.