Drug abuse can be termed as the misuse of drugs, narcotics and extreme use of narcotics leads to addiction. Drug abuse is an ever growing issue not only in Pakistan but across different parts of the world. The worst thing about drugs and narcotics is that they are now considered to be a widely prevailing problem among the youth, which is considered to be the backbone of any country or nation. In the context of Pakistan, the use of narcotics among the youth is at an all time high.

The Pakistani youth constitutes above 60 percent of the total population. The youth is becoming the main target of drug dealers and smugglers. These drug pushers are enlarging their networks in educational institutions all over Pakistan now, thus undermining the backbone of the nation. The dealers involved in these networks offer and sell narcotics among youth, and they are argued to bring out a solution to all their anxieties, while the dire consequences of this substance use go ignored. At first, narcotics use may seems to be ‘cool’ but its after affects are then faced by society. A drug addict is not only playing with his/her own life but also destroying their whole family, that suffers because of that one person.

An institutional framework is working in this context for the past several years, like the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) which specially works against drug dealers and counters drug abuse activities among youth in educational institutions. The ANF is a federal force which is curbing against the menace of drugs and narcotics. It is the leading Drugs Law Enforcement Agency to counter narcotics. The ANF is fighting for reducing supply by tracing the drug trafficking networks, limiting the smuggling, trafficking and distribution of narcotics in the country and ensuring the strict control of chemical movements. They also have the responsibility of keeping a vigilant eye on the expansion of drug smugglers networks in trafficking of narcotics from Afghanistan by checks at borders and airports used for trafficking of narcotics and drugs. In the context of Drug Demand Reduction (DDR), ANF organises anti-drug walks, campaigns, lectures in different educational institutions, pet shows, youth conventions, hikings, drug burning ceremonies, youth ambassadors recreational trips, youth galas, awareness stalls, musical concerts, sports activities, workshops and anti-drug dramas for the youth to participate in all these positive activities. The basic purpose of these activities is to engage the youth in positive platforms by their massive participation in order to keep them away from evil tasks. ANF is also enhancing its research analysis on drug abuse with the collaboration of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The ANF organises a Drug Burning Ceremony every year in which UNODC officials are also invited. There is a massive participation of academic institutions in this annual ceremony. In addition to this celebrities/stars, high profile dignitaries, civil society and ANF Youth Ambassadors are a part of this annual event. Various schools, colleges and university students participated in the ANF Drug Burning Ceremony, which was held at the end of last year at DHA Valley, Islamabad. The ANF Youth Ambassadors presented a high quality “Tableau” in Drug Burning Ceremony showing how drugs can destroy one’s life and its hazardous effects can impact whole society. The audience really appreciated the heart touching performance of the participants.

The Drug Burning Ceremony was arranged with the aim to show a firm zero-tolerance stance and a comprehensive approach to tackle drugs by the Anti-Narcotics Forces. A staggering 51 tones of drugs, including heroin and cocaine were burnt by the Anti-Narcotics Force. The narcotics burnt in the ceremony were estimated to be worth $152 million.

State Minister of Education Baligh ur Rehman, while attending the ceremony as a Chief Guest said, “We have come a long way in our fight against drugs. We have kept our fields and mountains free from poppy. However, regionally, the drug situation remains challenging.”

He further said, “All of us have a part to play in this effort – parents, educators, community partners, our youth and most importantly the support of International Community.”

As of this year, Pakistan has signed MOUs with 32 countries regarding this issue.

According to DG Anti Narcotics Nasir Dilawar Shah, 298 metric tons drugs of worth $896 million have been seized this year. 50 metric tons drugs of worth $152 million was destroyed last year.

The Pakistani youth is increasingly becoming addicted to different kinds of drugs which includes street drugs such as chars or hashish, heroine and other synthetic drugs. The reasons can be different for how an individual views drug abuse among youth but as a whole we see there is no collective social community initiative to fight against the menace of narcotics.