Drug addiction grows in Pakistan

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A UN recent report revealed the grim situation of drug addiction in Pakistan, a problem that runs deep in the country, as more and more school children turn to substance abuse.

The total number of drug addicts in Pakistan is 7.6 million, of which 78 percent are male and 22 percent are female, according to a United Nations report.

Citing the same report, the Dawn newspaper last month said that the number of these addicts is increasing at the rate of 40,000 per year, making Pakistan one of the most drug-affected countries in the world.

"With the increasing use of drugs, the government needs to introduce heavy penalties and severe punishment for those who are caught selling narcotics, especially those who sell it to youngsters," columnist Habiba Siraj said in Dawn.

Last month, Pakistan's Minister for Narcotics Control Shazain Bugti stressed the need for strategies to control drug abuse in the country and come up with ways to treat addicts.

The 'National Drug Use Survey Pakistan' was jointly launched by the United States State Department, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the Pakistan Ministry of Narcotics Control, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

Dawn reported that this national survey will be completed in three years (2022-24).

In its latest report, a Canadian-based think tank said the problem of drug addiction runs deep in the country, with many schoolchildren turning to drug addiction.

"The number of people who die of drug addiction is higher than those who get killed in terror attacks. Civil society and international organizations have been calling the drug problem in Pakistan of great concern and seeking immediate preventive measures," the International Forum For Rights And Security (IFFRAS) added.

Despite the growing menace of terrorism, the think tank said successive governments failed to control the menace thanks to the complicity of Pakistan's leaders and officials in the dirty business.

"Hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine and other narcotics substances such as hashish, and charas are commonly in use," it added. 

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