It’s quite alarming that the number of youngsters getting affected by substance abuse is increasing rapidly in Pakistan. It’s a moment of worry and action needs to be taken by both authorities and society to deal with this situation. It depends on us what kind of future we want for our younger generation.
We are living in a society that is influenced by western culture and their way of living life. Unfortunately, we do not adopt good things from the west such as cleanliness and education; we are always ahead of demanding freedom for things that really do not matter in our personal growth.
We always get inspired by western flaws and try to adapt to them. Uses of drugs are one example that is becoming a trend in universities and it’s easily available.
The high number of students involved in drugs
Many universities over the years have taken strict action to counter the use of drugs on university premises but this effort still feels less. Only banning is not an option, a continued check and balance is required inside the premises and how drugs are reaching inside the campus.
The most common drugs used among university students are morphine, ice, cocaine, hashish, and cannabis. The major reason why these students are easy targets for the drug mafia is that students can be easily exploited. Many students face family issues, exams, and stress-related to studying. The company of drug addict friends and fellow hostel mates also influences them.
The drug mafia always finds ways to get into young minds and make them believe how taking these substances is the answer to all their problems. According to alarming data, around 8 million people are drug addicts in Pakistan which include 78% of male and 22% of females. The number is increasing by 40,000 per year.
This is an extreme situation and it will eventually increase unrest amongst youngsters. The number of patients going to rehabilitation centers every year is also increasing by huge numbers. This drug culture is putting a negative impact on the mental and physical health of students and on our younger generation as the majority of drug addicts are around the age of 24.
President Dr. Arif Alvi has asked the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan to formulate drug policy for the higher education institutions by March 2021 so as to save the students from the menace of narcotics and provide them healthy learning environment. pic.twitter.com/c5SHpbMxIe
— The President of Pakistan (@PresOfPakistan) November 13, 2020
Easy availability of drugs
Drugs are easily available these days. Dealers are one call away to deliver drugs or alcohol at your doorstep which are then consumed in universities, events, parties, and hostels. It is unfortunate that no administration is keen to put this on priority and in fact support it.
Drug cartels in Pakistan are fully backed, supported, and funded by rich and influential people. Police do not put any focus on this issue; some are even involved in this crime and backed by the mafia. One prime example is ‘Chauburji Lahore’ which is a preserved heritage by the Government of Punjab with amazing historical value. That place is now known as a place for drug addicts. Every day there is dealing of drugs openly in the middle of main Lahore city.
What might amaze you is there is a police station hardly 20 steps from the hub of drug addicts. There is no doubt about influential people and police working side by side to spread substance use. Unfortunately along with backing by the mafia, our justice system and its loopholes provide an easy getaway for these criminals.
What needs to be done?
This generation is too messed up and exposed to all kinds of information and cultural learning. You can not stop people from doing certain things by force; it can be a short-term option where the administration needs to take immediate actions especially against drug cartels operating in Pakistan.
The administration needs to take universities on board and make a clear policy to not let substances spread on campuses. Students should also be taught about mental and physical health. There needs to be proper learning for young minds and they should be taught about right things, we are only focusing on basic learning methods and not giving young minds a chance to differentiate between right and wrong.
Half of our young population is taking drugs out of depression, half is taking it as part of enjoyment and lifestyle. It needs to be looked after and for this to end, we need all stakeholders to understand their responsibilities such as administrations, universities, public leaders, and parents.
If we keep ignoring this situation and do not take it as a serious matter of concern, it will drown our youth and surely we will not have any future left.
Fahad Qureshi is an MPhil scholar, analyst and journalist. He has expertise in national and international politics. The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.