The Shocking Scale of Pakistan’s Drug epidemic
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in its 2013 “Drug Use in Pakistan” report released staggering statistics.
* 6.7 million people in the country are drug users consuming different substances including plant-based drugs, medical prescription drugs, opioids, opiates (heroin and opium) and tranquilisers.
* Of these 4.25 million are dependent on the drugs
*more than 800,000 Pakistanis aged between 15 and 64 use heroin regularly and that there are almost five million cannabis users addicted to smoking high-grade hashish called charas.
Pakistan’s illegal drug trade is believed to generate $2 billion a year. Even at the lowest appraisal this makes Pakistan the most heroin-addicted country, per capita, in the world.
It is estimated that up to 44 tons of processed heroin are consumed in Pakistan annually – a rate of use two or three times America’s.
A further 110 tons of heroin and morphine from neighbouring Afghanistan are trafficked through Pakistan to international markets.
David Browne (23 March 2014). “How Pakistan succumbed to a hard-drug epidemic”. Telegraph. The Telegraph
In July 2015, Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) informed the Senate Standing Committee on Interior and Narcotics Control that an estimated of 700 people in Pakistan die every day due to drug-related problems.
The result is the loss of average 39 lives per day.
However the federal budget 2017-18 allocated a mere Rs70 million as ‘National Fund for Control of Drug Use’.
There is an acute shortage of special hospitals. There are only five such health facilities (in Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Sukkhar and Karachi)
Pakistan aims to be drug-free by 2020 under its 2010-2014 Drug Abuse Control Master Plan. Yet in 2011 and 2012 the body set up to coordinate this goal did not even bother to meet.
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