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A concerted effort from everyone is needed to defeat drug addiction

When heroin addicts are found passed out beside a train track or wandering through the shadows of an inner city neighborhood, they are seen as a perpetual threat because of their scruffy appearance and the fact that they are often unconscious.

Abandoned by society due to societal economic imbalances and domestic troubles, dozens of drug users may be observed lying near railway tracks in Faqirabad, under the Gul Bahar overpass on GT, on the bridge at Central Jail Peshawar, and in Tehkal and Karkhano market.

The provincial administration and other groups have declared war on drugs to rehabilitate addicts and raise awareness of the dangers posed by this societal ill as the number of drug abusers continues to rise.

However, it is heartening and encouraging to see that provincial authorities and welfare groups are not blind to the problem, and are instead working tirelessly for the betterment of addicts and the provision of space for them to adjust and become respectable members of society.

“Waging war against narcotics is not meant to only rehabilitate addicts,” stated Syed Ali Naqi, Deputy Manager of the Dost Welfare Foundation, in an interview with the Associated Press (APP).

We need a comprehensive plan to end drug abuse completely and make it impossible for former addicts to relapse.

Detoxification, primary rehabilitation, skill development, and a follow-up counseling program make up the mainstays of drug addict rehabilitation, he said, adding that his organization was also developing a family orientation program to educate loved ones on the root causes, treatment options, and aftercare needs of those struggling with substance abuse.

According to him, the center can accommodate as many as 400 drug users, including women and children who need special care. Treatment facilities for addicts were reportedly established in the Main Building of Hayatabad, as well as in the neighborhoods of Shahi Bala, University Town, and Tehkal, in response to the city’s apparent surge in drug abuse.

He commented, “Severing drugs’ supply chain and removing wide availability of contraband in society is crucial for winning the war against drugs addiction and our efforts would be squandered if these elements are not handled on a priority basis.”

To fight the war against drug addiction, he stressed the importance of building communication between government authorities, law enforcement agencies, and stakeholders.

Pabbi native and drug user Sajid Khan told APP, “I started smoking cigarettes and then hashish in profound depression when my family abandoned me following my failing marriage and unemployment.”

Despite Sajid’s best efforts, his indulgence in the social evil of heroin addiction cost him his dignity and respect, and he is now living with his married sister. He claimed that drug addicts’ appearances are a primary target of ridicule from younger generations, and that begging eventually becomes a habit for those who use drugs to fund their habit.

Professor Dr. Khalid Mufti, a renowned psychiatrist who runs the Ibadat hospital for treatment of drug addicts in Nishtarabad Peshawar, told the news agency that “relapsing” is a major problem that arises from the indifference and discouraging attitude of society towards rehabilitated addicts, who often faced contempt of people living around them.

“Without providing psychological aid to its victims and raising public knowledge about addicts’ rights, our efforts to win the war against drug addiction would be futile.”

He believes that recovered people’s acceptance back into society is one of the key variables that might give recovering addicts hope for a decent future. Without second chances, optimism, support, and respect, it would be impossible to help a drug addict overcome their troubled history and begin a new life free of drugs.

Dr. Khalid Mufti advocated for community mobilization and a shift in public perception to aid addicts, believing that doing so would give them the strength to carry on in the face of adversity.

Mahnur Mehfooz
Written By

Mahnur is MS(development Studies)Student at NUST University, completed BS Hons in Eng Literature. Content Writer, Policy analyst, Climate Change specialist, Teacher, HR Recruiter.

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