- Today is the International Day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking
By: Aisha Yousuf
Every year 26 June is observed as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of the purpose of strengthening action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse. Supported each year by individuals, communities, and various organizations all over the world, this global observance aims to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to our society.
The theme for the 2020, “Better Knowledge for Better Care”, emphasizes the need to improve the understanding of the world drug problem and better knowledge will promote greater international cooperation for countering its impact on health, power and security.
Drug addiction has become the serious problem around the world. It has been adopted as a lifestyle in both rich and poor countries. The use of drugs and alcohol not only brings negative impact on moral values but it also damage nation economy as well. Drugs roduce short periods of feelings of well being and pleasure, but after that it always drags the user towards permanent psychological and personal abnormalities.
In Pakistan, the covid-19 pandemic has compounded critical economic challenges, as well as issues related to governance and internal security. The outbreak has also brought about a series of changes related to organized crime as illicit trafficking, and there is a need for greater attention in monitoring these trends.
In Pakistan more than 800,000 people between the age of 15 and 64 are addicted to the use of heroin on a regular basis, as indicated by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the most common drug of choice is cannabis. There are two types of drugs that are very common and easily accessible; cannabis and heroin. America is considered as a country where the maximum volume of heroin is consumed but estimates show that around 44 tons of heroin is consumed every year in Pakistan. This ratio is two to three times higher than the USA.
In Pakistan, the total number of drug addicts as per a UN report is 7.6 million, 78 percent of whom are male, while the remaining 22 percent are female. The number of these addicts is increasing at the rate of 40,000 per year, making Pakistan one of the most drug-affected countries in the world. This is the reason why Pakistan is considered as a home for the use of heroin and is known as one of the biggest market for heroin smugglers and dealers. What is most disturbing is the fact that most of these heroin addicts are under the age of 24. The reports and figures presented by the UN about the drug abusers to government entities are in fact a third of the actual number of addicted people.
The question is, why do people start doing drugs? People start doing drugs because of socio-psychological factors; economical issues, lack of interest in education, high stress and anxiety and due to peer pressure. People start from smoking tobacco and ruin their life by jumping on hard drugs. If children who grow up in a family where smoking is common, then there is a high chance that children will start smoking tobacco very early, will try hard drugs and will get involved in wrong practices. There are also some other factors, including; the feeling of alienation, a life trauma, and the lacking of family support and relations problems. Biologically, drugs affect neurotransmitters and release some chemicals that give pleasure and a sense of wellbeing for a short period of time. After repeated use, the time period of feeling pleasure gradually decreases and the pleasure itself diminishes. The brain and body become dependent on drug. When drug addicts use drugs, they don’t do so for pleasure, they do so to feel normal. Consequences always been very painful and difficult to get away from, including withdrawal symptoms, paranoid and psychotic thoughts, stress, anxiety, depression, restlessness, psychological problems and cardiovascular diseases.
The implications of the covid-19 pandemic still have to unfold fully, but it is clear that it has already presented many new challenges for Pakistan. The apparent increase in drug trafficking and other threats is undermining the state’s ability to focus efforts on citizens’ health and safety while simultaneously trying to stabilize Pakistan’s economy.
In April, the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) and the Pakistan Navy confiscated significant amounts of heroin, opium, hashish, crystal meth and a quantity of morphine as a result of illicit trafficking. These large drug busts, along with many smaller confiscations and arrests in other parts of the country, point to an increased supply of narcotics in Pakistan. This could be the result of efforts to meet heightened demand during the pandemic or opportunism on the part of drug producers and traffickers. These groups may be looking to exploit decreased law-enforcement capacity for drug control, as attention is diverted towards containing COVID-19.
However, the hazard of drugs can be battled. Education is the primary fight. Everyone should be educated about the harm and effects of drugs so that they may know the consequences of its use and can avoid it. Government should take strict steps against the drug dealers and should emower the law by increasing the police manower. The implications of the covid-19 pandemic still have to unfold fully, but it is clear that it has already presented many new challenges for Pakistan. The apparent increase in drug trafficking and other threats is undermining the state’s ability to focus efforts on citizens’ health and safety while simultaneously trying to stabilize Pakistan’s economy.