PESHAWAR: Expressing concern over the increasing use of ice, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police authorities have proposed amendment in the law to increase the minimum punishment for carrying a gram of the synthetic drug up to seven years imprisonment and a fine of Rs500,000, a source told The News.
The source said that the authorities of the capital city police have written to the provincial government on a number of occasions to amend the Control of Narcotics Substance Act 1997 to increase penalty for those selling, smuggling and using ice and heroin.
"This Act should be called Control of Narcotics Substance (Amendment) Act 2018. It shall come into force at once and should be extended to the whole of Pakistan," the proposed amendment stated.
He added that in case of manufacturing, transporting or possessing ice or heroin weighing from one gram to 100 grams it should be a non-bailable offence punishable with imprisonment not less than seven years and a fine of Rs500,000.
Under the existing law, the maximum punishment for carrying 100 grams or less of the drug is two years. The punishment for carrying drugs weighing more than 100 grams and less than a kilogram under the existing law is seven years.
"The proposed amendment suggests at least 10 years punishment for carrying 100 or more grams of ice or heroin with a fine of at least Rs1 million," the source quoted from the amendment proposed by the police force.
The police informed through the letter that the use of ice led to increase in criminal tendencies and this is the reason 95 percent of addicts in Australia have committed murders and armed robberies. The users of the drug have reached 25 million all over the world.
It pointed out that as the drug is expensive, the addicts earn money to buy it through committing robberies, snatching and other crimes. The use of ice causes self-harm, violent behaviours, harming others, coma, fits, fast heartbeat, rapid breathing, agitation, confusion as well as damage to a number of organs of the addict.
There are a number of complaints about the increase in use of the synthetic drug called ice, party drug, crystal meth or methamphetamine in different places. The addicts of ice have increased at an alarming pace not only in Peshawar, but also in other parts of the province and country.
A few deaths under the influence of ice or due to its excessive use were also reported in the last few months. Those who died included young women as there are reports that a large number of youth, including students of universities and colleges, have become addicted to it.
The police have launched an 'Ice-Free Peshawar' campaign since mid-August and constituted special teams in all the divisions under the respective SPs to go after the smugglers and dealers in their areas. According to the police chief of Peshawar, Qazi Jamilur Rehman, coordination with other agencies, including the Anti-Narcotics Force and the Excise Department is being improved in this regard.
"Apart from carrying out operations and developing intelligence network for identification of ice manufacturers, sellers, distributors and peddlers, the police have started an awareness campaign through the mainstream media and social media to inform the people,especially youth, about the harms of ice and heroin," Qazi Jamilur Rehman told The News.
He informed that the the police are working in liaison with universities' administration to engage them for effective control over the sale and distribution of such drugs amongst the youth. He added that the civil society, religious scholars, elected representatives, district administration and elders of the society are also being engaged in the awareness campaign against the synthetic drug.