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January 8, 2019

No more than two per cent student drug addicts: survey

Islamabad

January 8, 2019

Islamabad: Rejecting claims of high incidence of drug use among students in major urban centres, a nationwide survey has revealed that such addicts don’t make more than two percent of the total strength of students.

The initiative was carried out by Quaid-i-Azam University Department of Sociology in public and private educational institutions Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar under the HEC Thematic Grants Project to produce reliable data to understand on campus drug abuse behaviour and sensitise the youth to the issue.

The sample comprised 4,997 students of schools, colleges and universities Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar.

Dr Imran Sabir, assistant professor at the Department of Sociology, QAU, who is the principle investigator of the project, shared the findings with the stakeholders in the seminar held at the QAU. He said the reverberations and figures based on a secret report by an NGO as reported by our media created confusion and hype about unusually higher rates of drug abuse in educational institutions of metropolitan cities.

According to the initial findings of the survey, 21 percent of the surveyed students from both public and private institutions considered the drug abuse not a risky behaviour.

However, most of the students (79%) were of the view that drugs can have negative consequences on health and social aspects of life, including their family, education and job.

While revealing not more than two percent of the students were regular drug users in educational institutions, Dr Imran said the peer pressure plays crucial role in adopting on campus drug use.

State minister for interior Sheharyar Afridi, who was the chief guest of the seminar, emphasised the need of exemplary practical measures in society particularly in educational institutions. He said the government was committed to eradicating the menace of drug use through effective legislation.

The minister stressed on the supremacy of law and said the government would take strict action against those, who were inflicting the drugs in educational institutions. He said academia and media were key stakeholders who can play effective role in curbing the issue.

The minister appreciated the QAU Department of Sociology for the efforts to organize this important event to highlight the realistic picture of drug abuse in educational institutions.

Dr Waqar Ali Shah, dean at the Social Sciences, highlighted the role of youth in restraining the drug abuse in educational institutions. “We dream for “Drug Free Society”, and for that all of us need to work collectively as a team,” he said,

QAU Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Ali said the abuse of drugs is linked to numerous social problems including health issues, terrorism, suicide and damage the fabric of society. He asked youths to be vigilant and report drug use on campus. The VC said youths must learn to say no if they were offered to use drugs.

‘The News’ Editor Muhammad Amir Ghauri discussed the ways and means to address the issue of drug abuse and focused his discussion on the role of community and youth for it. He said youths were the future of a nation and may act as neighbourhood watch force and that they should inform police and use media to highlight the issue as he considered that every individual himself is a journalist to highlight such evils.

Aamir Ghuri said the users of drugs were not to blame and instead, the police should arrest suppliers. He said all members of society needed to act as community and whenever anyone learned about the use of drugs in family or among friends or in neighbourhood, they should speak to the relevant people for corrective measures as such people needed be considered to be suffering from a condition and should be offered societal help for treatment. “The more this problem spreads, the greater is a chance for low treatment. I fear this will become a serious issue in the coming years,” he said.

‘The News’ editor warned if someone was smoking cigarette, he must have a chance of taking drugs, too. “We should not say this happens in English medium schools and not in Urdu medium schools. One should move ahead of such points. If the state is not aware of drug factories, people should come forward and expose them,” he said. Sabino Sikandar Jalal, joint secretary of the Ministry of Anti-Narcotics, said the ratio of drug abuse had decreased but the issue still required extra ordinary efforts.

“On policy is aimed at promoting drug free environment in educational institutions,” he said. Dr. Samina Qadir, vice chancellor of the Fatima Jinnah Women University, discussed the reasons for drug abuse among youth. Brig. Mubasher Kazmi of the ANF discussed the patterns of drug usage in Pakistan and shed light on the statistics and the efforts of anti-narcotics force to counter the menace.

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