LAHORE - The number of drug addicts across the country has surged to 9 million from 2000 to 2012, while the number of sheesha smokers is also increasing in Lahore.

This was disclosed in the annual report about drug addiction. The total number of sheesha cafes in Lahore was around 316 and 189 were sealed in 2012.

Most affected areas where drugs, including sheesha, are rampant include Lakshami Chowk, Nisbat Road, Royal Park, Railway Station, Ichchra, Data Darbar, Lower Mall, Old Anarkali, Bund Road, Ali Park, Sultanpura, Faizbagh, Ravi Road, Shahdara, Township, Green Town, Johar Town, Chungi Amar Sidhu, Kot Lakhput, Jallo Mor, Gulberg, Garden Town and Alama Iqbal Town. However, Sheesha cafes are mostly located in posh areas. The report stated that Punjab was badly affected by drug abuse and the trend was increasing in the provinces.

The report mentioned that Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, Bahawalpur, Kasur, Attack, Sargodha, Narowal, Khanewal, Okara and Rahim Yar Khan are the worst affected by drug abuse.

The report stated that the Shahdra incident was the worst in which many people died due to overdosage of cough syrup. Chronic addicts cannot live without drugs because their bodies totally depend on drugs, it was added. The role of provincial government departments like the health department is very important but unfortunately the Punjab government has no solid policy to control illegal drugs, the report noted.