The magnitude of the problem
The world as a whole is in the cruel clutches of two kinds of terrorism: one is terrorism through arms and explosives, and the other is terrorism through drugs. In case of the former, bombs blast, explosives and suicidal jackets explode, human bodies burst into pieces and victims meet horrible deaths. While in case of the later, victims (drug addicts) first lose their senses, then socially and economically collapse, and finally, over years, slowly and painfully, meet their ultimate and miserable end (death). According to the UNODC World Drug Report-2012, in 2011 the estimated annual global production of cannabis herb was 66,100 tons, hashish 9,900 tons, opium 7,853 tons, heroin 537 tons, and cocaine 1,135 tons. According to the UNODC World Drug Report-2013, out of 4,833 million population of the world aged 15 to 64, 352 million (7%) use one or the other drug. These horrible figures of production and use of drugs warrant every country of the world and the relevant organisations to do their best to fight out the menace of drugs which is fast swallowing up the working class, more particularly the youth (five lac people annually).
Why to focus more on drug abuse?
The menace of drug and drug abuse not only has legal implications, it also affects the entire socio-economic fiber of the society adversely. It ruins the individuals, disintegrates families, and disrupts the communities. Drug addicts seldom offer a stable family life to their children, life partners or to their parents and other family members. They can hardly fulfill the domestic, economic, social and psychological requirements of their children particularly. Robbery, street crimes and violence are largely connected with the drug addicts. Drug addicted parents often get indebted, steal from friends or family, or lose their jobs, resulting in running away of children from home, living on the streets, and increasing the probability of them becoming addicts in turn.
The continuous use of drugs can lead to mental/physical abuse on the partner and children. Besides, it has serious implications on the economy of a society, as the society has to pay the damages caused by drugs in the shape of decreased productivity, cost of medical treatments, robbed or destroyed properties, and the cost of enforcement of law. Drugs can cause effects like illnesses, which can be expensive for society to cure, for example lung cancer, mental illnesses like psychoses or neurological illnesses. And, on top of all, the injecting drug users can first become victims of HIV/AIDs and Hepatitis-C themselves and then spread these not so far curable diseases to others, most of them may otherwise be quite innocent and not drug users. Therefore, preventing the individuals, particularly the youth, and the society as a whole from drug abuse is not only the call of the time from the point of view of legal consequences, but it is also important, crucial and inescapable from health, social, economic and demographic points of views.
The case of Pakistan
According to the UNODC Report on Drug Use in Pakistan-2013, 7.9 million population of Pakistan between the age of 15 and 64 use drugs. If the drug users below the age of 15 and above the age of 64 are added, the number may touch 9 million (4.5% of the total population). Taking cognizance of the similar situation that prevailed in 2010, the Ministry of Narcotics Control (now Division) drafted National Anti Narcotics Policy-2010, which was approved by the then prime minister and his cabinet. The National Anti Narcotics Policy-2010 lays down the following three policy objectives (strategy) to achieve the ultimate goal of drug free Pakistan by 2030.
- Drug supply reduction: by eliminating poppy cultivation to maintain Pakistan’s poppy free status; preventing trafficking and production of narcotic/psychotropic substances; and strengthening the law enforcement agencies and streamlining their activities.
- Drug demand reduction: by enhancing demand prevention efforts through education and community mobilisation campaigns and projects; and developing effective and accessible drug treatment and rehabilitation systems.
- International cooperation: by promoting and actively participating in bilateral, regional and international efforts to combat drugs.
All federal and provincial drugs law enforcement agencies and relevant ministries and departments are partners in this policy and are responsible to implement its provisions and make dedicated efforts to achieve the goal. However, being the premier Division and drug law enforcement agency of the federal government, and also having the ownership of the policy, the Narcotics Control Division and the Anti Narcotics Force are more responsible than any other agency to steer both the functions. Amid this scenario it is heartening to note that the ANF, being the executing agency of the Narcotics Control Division, is dedicatedly and successfully discharging its responsibilities and functions. It always ranks 1st, 2nd or 3rd in seizures of hashish, opium and heroin amongst the countries of the world at large.
Its performance, particularly in 2013 and during the first half of 2014, has been tremendous. In 2013, ANF seized as much as 5,613 kgs heroin 13,290 kgs opium and 105,260 kgs hashish while over 35,000 kgs of all the three types of narco-substances during the first five months of 2014. This is almost 40 per cent of the total seizures made by around two dozen drugs law enforcement agencies, including all provincial and federal police departments functioning in Pakistan.
On the other hand, the ANF also arranged over 1,500 awareness activities against drug abuse throughout Pakistan during the last four years. And a prestigious Pak-Punjab joint venture ‘Drug Free City Lahore Project’, working under the umbrella of ANF, organised over 3,000 community mobilisation and awareness creating activities against the menace of drug in Lahore only during the last three and a half Years. Not only that, the ANF treated over 12,000 drug addicts in three Model Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation Centres, established and run under its supervision in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore.
But all the same, the menace of drugs can only be defeated in Pakistan if every citizen of the country participates in this “war against drugs” with the same zeal and zest as this premier agency of the country is doing.