ISLAMABAD - The Ministry of Narcotics Control, being lead department mandated to end menace of narcotics in the country, and other state institutions apparently lack capacity and will to compile fresh data on drug users in Pakistan as last such exercise was held more than seven years ago in 2012.

The government has no fresh data of drug users in the country as last national level survey—Drug Use in Pakistan – was carried out by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics in 2012 in collaboration with the Ministry of Narcotics Control and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

According to the details shared by Minister for Narcotics Control Shehryar Afridi with the Senate Secretariat, last survey of drug users in Pakistan was carried out in 2012 and the final report and results of the survey were published in 2013.

The survey report says that approximately 6.7 million, 6 percent of the then total population of the country, people between the ages of 15-64 years were using any illicit drug including misuse of prescription drugs.

“After 2012, no drug use survey has been conducted in the country and current status of drug use in the country and number of drug users cannot be estimated accurately,” the Ministry of Narcotics Control said in its report placed on the floor of the Senate, earlier this week. “However, efforts are underway for conducting fresh survey on drug use in Pakistan, in collaboration with UNODC,” the ministry said. The ministry said that many non-government organizations (NGOs) were quoting wrong figures in public and on media only “to serve their interest.”

According to the survey, 6.7 million drug users used narcotics and controlled substance including opium, heroin, cannabis, amphetamine, methamphetamine, cocaine and misused prescription drugs. The report of the ministry says that cannabis is the most commonly used drug, with a prevalence of 3.6 percent of the population, equivalent to four million users nationwide.

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 The majority of drug users fell between 25 and 39 years of age. Cannabis use was highest among people aged 30 to 34 years.

Out of 6.7 million drug users, cannabis users were four million, heroin users 0.86 million, opium users 0.32 million, meth addicts 0.019 million, injected drug users 0.43 million, and non-prescription drugs users were 1.6 million.

The minister in the report said that narcotics control ministry being the lead ministry on the subject of narcotics is taking various steps to stop the menace of narcotics in the society, particularly, the youth. ENDs