PESHAWAR: Speakers at a seminar on Sunday called for collective efforts to curb the rising use of the ice (methamphetamine) drug.
A non-governmental organisation, Horizon, had arranged the programme at the Ibadat Hospital as a part of the “Ice Awareness Campaign.”
The collaboration was made with the World Psychiatrist Association, Syndicate of Writers and Karwan-e-Hawwa organisation.
Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Qazi Jamilur Rehman was the chief guest. The speakers included a senior psychiatrist Professor Dr Khalid Mufti, who was the keynote speaker, Rehman Medical College Principal Prof Dr Tariq Mufti, Prof Nasir Ali Syed, Prof Dr Abdul Ghafoor, Syed Sajjad Shah and Bushra Farrukh.
A noted psychiatrist and head of the Horizon organization, Dr Khalid Mufti, made a presentation on awareness against ice (drugs) and strategies. He said addiction affected brain and behaviour. “Though it is a complex problem, yet treatable. There is no universal treatment as each body reacts in a different way. The people need to have readily available treatment,” he emphasised.
The senior psychiatrist said according to a UN study of 2013, there were 7.6 million drug addicts in Pakistan (78 per cent men and 22 per cent women).
The expert said there were no statistics to describe the exact tally of ice users in Pakistan. “It is only the guesswork which is based on random reports from hospitals, NGOs, media and police,” he elaborated.
The doctor talked of the treatment process in details and defined the roles played by the doctor, family and the society at large. He said the Ibadat Hospital detoxified 27 adults in the last three month.
CCPO Qazi Jamilur Rehman, who was chief guest on the occasion, said the ice drug was a weapon more lethal than radicalization as mostly youth were vulnerable to the menace.
He said the ice drug use and spread had become challenge. Citing recent examples from Peshawar, he said there was a dire need to make joint efforts to save the young generations from ice. The official said some youth were turning to the drug addiction out of sheer adventurism but it later ruined their lives. He added there was a pressing need to raise an awareness campaign to cope with the challenge, adding reaching out to the youth enrolled at different institutions was one such way.
Qazi Jamil was all praise for the people of Peshawar for braving challenges in the past four decades. “They need to exhibit the same strength and spirit and come forward to share the social responsibility to purge the society of drug addiction, particularly ice,” he argued.
Enumerating the measures the police force was taking to curb the sale of the ice drug, he said the police were trying hard to break the demand and supply chain.
He said the police had busted at least three ice-producing factories in the last few months after launching a crackdown. Up to 50,000 ice-filled tablets and 7,000 injections were seized, he added.
Qazi Jamil said 200 drug addicts were picked up during the crackdown. “We decided not to lodge them at the police stations and instead turned to hospitals and rehabilitation centres for accommodating them,” he recalled and suggested that portions of the hospitals should be converted into “Dedicated Rehabilitation Centres” for one year for drug addicts to improve the situation.
The official said apart from police action, efforts by the civil society carried importance as well to end the demand for Ice and other drugs. He said detoxification and rehabilitation should go side by side.
“People need to be convinced of the harm effects of drug addiction. Those who are fighting the drugs must be backed,” he stressed while praising Horizon and other such organizations and individuals who were vying for a drug-free society.