Drug Abuse Is Out of Control at Pakistani Schools and Universities

Teen drug abuse can have long-term cognitive and behavioral effects since the teenage brain is still developing.

There is no single age group of people more affected by alcohol and drugs than young people. Alcohol and drugs affect each and every one of us, directly or indirectly: in our homes, in our families, in our schools, in our dorm, in our community, town or city.

More than 23 million people over the age of 12 are addicted to alcohol and other drugs affecting millions of more people: parents, family members, friends, and neighbors.

According to UNODC more than 800,000 Pakistanis aged between 15 and 64 are the regular addict to use heroin. It is also estimated that up to 44 tons of processed heroin is consumed annually in Pakistan – a rate twice/thrice higher than the US. The reasons why a young person gets addicted to these harmful drugs are many. Curiosity, urge for pleasure, social excommunication, mental health, lack of self-reliance is some of the reasons for this drug addiction. Lack of self-confidence, that is inferiority complex, has been marked as a major cause of one’s becoming a drug addict. Excessive stress, as well as lack of parental involvement in child’s activities, are among the leading causes for drug addiction among youths and teens.

The problem of drug addiction is all the more serious because the addicts are mostly young school or college going boys and girls, the future of the country. So, it is imperative to see that such young boys and girls may, by no means, fall victim to drug addiction.

Today, Pakistan is not only one of the main exporters of heroin, it has also become a net importer of drugs. It is estimated that about 50 tons of opium are smuggled into Pakistan for processing heroin for domestic use. Almost 80 percent of the opium processed in Pakistan comes from neighboring countries. It is, therefore, important that the government takes administrative, legal and policy measures that put an end to the menace.

Following the alleged death of a LUMS student due to drug intoxication, several more were caught from Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU). The dean of QAU admitted that students were using local tablets, liquor, hashish and heroin. There was evidence of such large-scale drug abuse in these institutions that the Senate’s standing committee on Interior and Narcotics has direct the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) and the police to start a combing operation at the QAU.

The ANF has already arrested a gang leader who was involved in peddling marijuana, LSD, and other imported high-end drugs to students from schools and universities. The criminal was caught red-handed with 27 tokens of weed and 32 Blotters of LSD worth Rs 153,100 which he used to sell in a week at a price of Rs. 3,300 and Rs. 2,000 respectively. He used to distribute drugs in Iqra University, NUST, COMSATS, Roots school, QAU and several others.

The federal and provincials governments need to pick up in this regard. CCTV cameras need to be a must near all educational institutes. Universities and these expensive private schools have to be made accountable if students are found abusing drugs. With the enormous budgets that they have, it is certainly one of their duties.

Institutes also need to educate the students on the adverse effects of these drugs for them, their future and their families. The government needs to make an example of the criminals who are involved with drug distribution; Thus, playing with the future of Pakistan.

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