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100% increase in Narcotics use

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75% of the drug users want to be treated, but cannot afford treatment.

The report on a study conducted recently in Pakistan reveals that there has been a 100 percent increase in the use of drugs in the Pakistani society. The study was conducted by “United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime” (UNODC), in association with Ministry of Interior, Narcotics Control and Narcotics Control Division of the Government of Pakistan and Bureau of Statistics.

This report covered the annual use of both plant-based drugs and misuse of medical prescription drugs, particularly of cannabis, prescription opioids (painkillers), tranquilizers and sedatives and opiates (heroin and opium).

Some of the key findings of this report are;

  • In the year 2000, the number of Opiate users was 500,000, which increased to 628,000 in the year 2006,

  • In the year 2012 the number has jumped up to 1,060,000 opiate users.

– An estimated 860,000 or 0.8 per cent of the population are regular heroin users and 320,000 (0.3 per cent) are opium users.

– Approximately six% population, or 6.7 million people had used any controlled substance including misuse of prescription drugs in the last year. Cannabis is the most commonly used drug.

– Drug use in Pakistan is highly differential by gender. The national population prevalence is a combination of very high levels of drug-use among men, and generally low levels of use among women, offset by considerable levels of misuse of prescription opioids and tranquilizers and sedatives among women.

– Drug-use is most common among those between the ages of 25 to 39. Among drug users detected in these surveys, dependence and severity of dependence were high.

– Of the 6.7 million past-year users of any illicit substance, 4.25 million are considered to be drug-dependent. For them treatment has become a necessity.

Three-quarters of the regular opiate users interviewed, have reported a strong desire for treatment, but cited either a lack of access or an inability to afford treatment.

– The The prevalence and pattern of drug use among the the population aged 15 to 64 was estimated by interviewing 4,533 high-risk drug users, 58 representatives of drug treatment centres, 1,198

key informants and 51,453 respondents in random household interviews, and many jailed prisoners.

– In addition to drug use, there are the warning signs for a rapid expansion of the HIV epidemic and high-risk behavior, among the people who inject drugs and tend to ignore precautions, due to low awareness. 73% of these people are tend to share injections, due to lack of access to sterile injecting equipment.

  • The highest prevalence overall of any form of drug use is in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (10.9%).

The impact of drug use on community life can be profound and often leads to a host of socio-economic problems with respect to family, society, employment, criminality, and direct and indirect costs arising thereof.

The study also gives a disclaimer that the actual figures of drug use might be significantly higher than the figures reported by UNODC.

May 26, 2014

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