Sindh: Drug Prevention Campaign Launched
The wide-scale use of narcotics in Sindh has urged the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control, to initiate an educational campaign to raise public awareness on the abuse of illicit substances.
Below is an article by The News
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has launched a drug prevention campaign in nine cities of Sindh to warn people of disasters of drug use.
The cities are Hyderabad, Larkana, Sukkur, Shikarpur, Badin, Mirpur Khas, Nawabshah, Jacobabad and Khairpur, where around 570,000 people are using different types of narcotics, making 4.3 percent of the total population.
The five-month campaign is being launched in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control and supported by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) Pakistan of the US Department of State.
The campaign is aimed at raising public awareness on drugs and their harmful effects on individuals, families and society at large with a special focus on youth in the educational institutions, teachers, parents and religious leaders.
Speaking at the launching ceremony of the drug prevention campaign at the Governor’s House Karachi, Sindh Governor Dr Ishrat ul Ebad said the launch of the drug awareness campaign in the province was an effort to minimize social, psychological, economical and physical harms due to drug usage.
Ebad told that a major proportionate of funding for terrorist activities was received through sale of drugs.
“To curtail this funding, Sindh government has launched a massive operation against the drug peddlers and such criminals under ambit of the National Action Plan to reduce drugs demand in the province.”
He also ensured the provincial government’s full support to the organisations leading the campaign.
UNODC officials informed on the occasion that the campaign was based on the results of the “Drug use in Pakistan 2013 Survey”. According to the survey, it was estimated that six percent of the population in Pakistan, or 6.7 million people, aged between 15 and 64 had used drugs in the year the survey was conducted.
Of these, 4.25 million people were thought to be suffering from drug use disorders and drug dependence, reporting significant challenges in reducing their drug use.
Sindh had the second highest prevalence rate for cannabis use in the country.
4.3 percent of the population uses cannabis, and an estimated 570,000 people in the province used opioids during previous years.
Ghalib Bandesha, the secretary of the Narcotics Control Division under the Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control, in his address said preventing drug use before it began was the most cost-effective and practical approach to promote safe and healthy communities.
“Young people deserve every opportunity to live up to their full potential; therefore, exposure to effective drug prevention messages helps live a drugs free.”
Talking to the media, UNODC representative Cesar Guedes said widespread availability of drugs in Pakistan was making it easy for people, especially for youth, to experiment and become dependent on drugs.
“The social and economic impacts of drug use on families, society and the country are enormous, which further increases the burden on health services related to drug treatment and the treatment of drugs associated diseases such as hepatitis B and C and HIV.”
Photo Courtesy: Muhammad Ahmed @ Flickr