KARACHI - Dow University of Health Sciences in collaboration with Ministry of Narcotics Control and United Nations Office on Drug and Crime launched “Treatment Protocols for Drug Use in Pakistan” on Thursday, at Arag Auditorium of Dow Medical College, Karachi. Javed Iqbal, Secretary, Ministry of Narcotics Control, Dr Muhammad Shahid, Director General, Ministry of Narcotics Control, Jeremy Douglas, UNODC Country Representative, Prof Dr Masood Hameed Khan, Vice Chancellor, DUHS, Associate Professors of Psychiatry Prof RazaurRahman and Dr Ishaque Sarhandi including many experts involved in treatment of drug addiction besides officials of Narcotic Control Board and UNODC attended the Launching Ceremony. The proposed “Treatment Protocol for Drug Use in Pakistan” in collaboration with Ministry of Narcotics Control and United Nations Office on Drug and Crime Control were given to Dow University for review and subsequent endorsement was extensively looked in and following modifications was put forward for approval. The modifications were then reviewed by independent experts and finally the draft was prepared for approval by the University syndicate. Dr Muhammad Shahid, Director General, Ministry of Narcotics Control giving the “Drugs situation in Pakistan” said that Pakistan is the primary transit country for opiates produced in Afghanistan. In Pakistan, the opiate abuse is a serious problem. It is estimated that there are 6,25,000 opioid users in Pakistan and 125,000 injecting drugs users. Out of which 60 per cent of the drug addicts falls in the age group of 15-30 years. Provincial estimation of drug use shows that there are 200,000 drug users and 100,000 Injecting Drug Users in Punjab, 87,000 and 44,000 in Sindh, 90,000 and 8,000 000 in KPK and 45,000 and 4,500 in Balcohistan. The overall prevalence of drug abuse in Sindh shows that there are 20,000 Injecting Drug Users with a prevalence of 0.6 per cent. He further revealed that there is high risk practice of needles sharing with Sindh and Baluchistan is 80 percent and in Punjab 70 percent. Up to 20 per cent of the addicts are selling blood. Pakistan has been declared as Concentrated HIV Epidemic among Prevalence of HIV among People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) Country. It is an emerging threat and need to tackle as earliest possible.Jeremy Douglas, UNODC Country Representative, in address termed it as a challenge for Pakistan. He hoped that this treatment protocols will go a long way and provide the services at it’s best which is very much needed in the country. Dr Muhammad Ishaque Sarhandi, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, DUHS said that Pakistan’s geographic location is next to Afghanistan, the world’s largest producer of illicit opium, places the country in a vulnerable position in terms of drug trafficking as well as drug abuse. The latest assessment of drug use in Pakistan was done in 2006.