July 21, 2024

Addiction treatment centres emerge as beacons of hope for drug abusers in Kashmir

Addiction treatment centres emerge as beacons of hope for drug abusers in Kashmir

Most drug addicts not visiting facilities due to social stigma: Doctors

Jahangeer Ganaie

Srinagar, Dec 13 (KNO): Addiction treatment facilities in Kashmir are proving to be a beacon of hope for individuals battling drug addiction.

Health officials told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that these centres, equipped with specialised programs and compassionate staff, have witnessed a notable success rate in aiding recovery and reintegrating individuals into society.

They highlighted the positive impact of these facilities and their role in addressing the rising concerns of drug abuse in the region. “With a tailored approach to rehabilitation, these centres employ a combination of counselling, medical support, and skill-building initiatives to help individuals overcome addiction,” they said.

The success stories emerging from the facilities underscore the importance of community support and the dedication of healthcare professionals in tackling the pervasive issue of drug abuse, the official said, adding that these centres stand as a testament to the power of comprehensive addiction treatment in fostering positive change in the lives of those affected.

As per the figures available with KNO, the addiction treatment facility at District Hospital Kulgam, in the last year, registered around 1900 drug addicts who have been visiting the facility for treatment. Doctors at the centre said that 95 percent of abusers visiting the ATF facility in Kulgam are heroin abusers, and around 70 percent of the heroin abusers are Intravenous Drug Abusers (IVDA) who are prone to hepatitis and other diseases.

They mentioned that around 70-100 abusers visit the facility every day, and most of them are on follow-up, while dozens among them have left drug abuse and are completely following the treatment.

The majority of people involved in drug addiction are in the 15-35 age group, and the main reasons behind it are peer pressure, drug availability, and modelling, etc, the figures reveal.

Doctors at other addiction treatment facilities echoed similar concerns, saying that most of the drug abusers are being brought to these facilities after using drugs for years together.

“Though the number of addicts visiting these facilities is on the rise, the number of drug addicts visiting for treatment compared to those who aren’t visiting for treatment is like the tip of an iceberg, and it is all because of social stigma,” they said, adding, “Despite increasing awareness and efforts to address addiction as a health issue, individuals battling drug dependency continue to face judgment and discrimination, hindering the collective fight against this public health crisis.”

The doctors added, “The reluctance to openly discuss addiction, coupled with ingrained societal prejudices, makes it challenging for affected individuals to seek help. There is a need for increased vigilance among parents, and they must provide comprehensive support to their children and raise awareness about the dangers of drug abuse.”

They urged people to view addiction through a lens of compassion and understanding rather than judgment, as breaking down these barriers is deemed crucial in establishing an environment where those struggling with addiction feel empowered to seek assistance without fear of ostracism.

A recent report by the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment highlights the gravity of the situation, stating that over 5 lakh addicts in Jammu and Kashmir use opioids, with 95,000 of them falling within the 10-17 age group. The report reveals a detailed breakdown of drug abuse statistics, encompassing various substances among different age groups.

As per the report, among 1,68,700 minor drug abusers; 8,000 are using cannabis, 95,000 opioids, 19,000 sedatives, 100 cocaine, 400 amphetamine stimulants, 46,000 inhalants, and 200 hallucinogens.

The report reveals that 11,80,000 adults of the 18-75 age group are drug abusers, and among them, 3,54,000 are using alcohol, 1,36,000 cannabis, 4,47,000 opioids, 1,51,000 sedatives, 89,000 inhalants, and 1000 each of cocaine, stimulant, and hallucinogens—(KNO)


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