Islamabad - A growing number of students are falling prey to the menace of drugs due to their easy availability in educational institutions of the federal capital.

Initially being treated as a non-issue, the increasing availability of drugs is a problem that now requires immediate action from the authorities. Parents and concerned elements of the society have also raised hue and cry about the situation getting out of hand.

In its drive against drugs on campus, Islamabad police frequently catch students and peddlers involved in the sale of contraband in universities. The drug-peddlers work in an organized manner to supply drugs to various public and private educational campuses of the city. Most of the educational institutions targeted by the criminals are in the limits of Secretariat, Shalimar Industrial Area police station.

Several students are also becoming a part of the criminal gangs involved in supplying drugs in the premises of various institutes. Tablets of ecstasy, hashish, heroin, marijuana and other imported high-end drugs are in high demand at universities.

Sadar Zone police, in February 2017, arrested 17 drug peddlers and recovered 7.54 kilograms of hashish and 68 bottles of liquor from them. The Industrial Area police, on 1 October 2017 recovered 60 grams of charas and 50 grams of heroin from one Roofi Masih and 50-gram charas and 60 grams of heroin from Anser Javed who was allegedly supplying drugs to the students.

The Islamabad High Court had sought a report from the interior ministry and a top-level police official of Islamabad regarding the sale of narcotics in the capital.

The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) is playing an active role against the gangs involved in supplying drugs to students of different universities and educational institutions . The ANF Intelligence has deployed special surveillance teams and informers to monitor activities of the gangs operating in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. In October 2016, the Senate Standing Committee on Interior and Narcotics Control declared a war against drugs across Pakistan while expressing concern over reports of increased drug use by students of upper-middle-income background. A shocking report presented before the Senate committee revealed that up to 53 percent students of large private schools in Islamabad were taking drugs . The report prepared by a non-government organisation stated that 44 to 53 percent students of large private schools in the federal capital were addicted to various kinds of drugs .

ANF and other law-enforcing agencies are striving hard to tackle the problem but more needs to be done on part of the concerned quarters. Steps such as mandatory drug tests for students in educational institutions and visits from mobile teams of ANF should be taken to control the use of drugs among youth. The law-enforcers, the civil society, politicians and media should play their role in creating awareness for those suffering from drug addiction.