KARACHI - Department of Social Work, University of Karachi organised a seminar here on Thursday on the prevention of drug abuse. The guests included Farheen Naveed from Drug Free Pakistan Foundation, Rev. Julian Justin from Ibtida Drug Rehabilitation Centre, Faizullah Korejo, SSP Investigation South, and Professor Dr Ahmed Qadri, dean faculty of social sciences.  Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) Sindh Joint Director Colonel Asim took the dice and said narcotics had destroyed the society.

He informed that world’s drug economy was of $435 billion, and around $225 billion were needed globally for the treatment of drug patients. “685 deaths take place in the world every day due to drug usage or overdose which is quite high than the deaths resulting from terrorism,” he disclosed.

Asim further said that global drug trade originated in Afghanistan and then made its way into Pakistan. “That’s why we are mostly affected by it,” he reasoned.

He informed that 40 percent narcotics from Afghanistan were smuggled to the other countries through Pakistan.

“Police, Excise and Taxation departments all have the responsibility to stop the drug use,” he emphasised.

While discussing the performance of ANF, he said that in 2016, 215 metric tonnes of narcotics had been seized by the ANF men, which had the total worth of around 3759 million dollars. “Karachi and Sukkur are the main hubs of narcotics in Sindh,” he said, and added, “The most commonly used drug in Pakistan is hashish followed by heroin, opium and cocaine. Heroine drugs are even seized from juice bottles.”

Elaborating further, Asim said that major signs of drug usage were not sleep disturbances, emotionally unstable or irresponsible behaviour and loss of decision-making power. “Lyari, Baldia, Golimar, Hub Chowki, New Karachi, Orangi Town and Saddar Town are the areas where drug addicts are mostly found. 59 percent of drug addicts in Pakistan are from the age group 20-29. Only 1 percent of drug addicts are graduates; 57 percent of them are unemployed, while 47 percent of addicts take drugs due to peer pressure,” he explained.

He added that 300 dollars was the worth of 1 gram of heroin while the largest consignment seized so far by the ANF was 375 kg’s of heroin.

“The ANF has been declared as one of the best anti narcotics agencies in the world by the United Nations Office of Drugs Control,” added Asim.

Sharing his experiences with the audience, Faizullah Korejo, SSP South Sindh, said that when he was posted at Lyari, a small packet of Chars was available at merely 100 rupees and heroin at merely 500 rupees. “The children from rich and educated families use and provide drugs for enjoyment,” he said, and added, “Street children are more vulnerable to drugs since they have no one to guide them. Mostly drugs for sale are available at bus terminals. The source of drugs must be checked and eradicated from the society.”

“Former army chief General (r) Raheel Sharif must be given credit for ordering the fencing of Pak Afghan border since it would curtail the drug flow from the neighbouring country to Pakistan by up to 85 percent,” Korejo added.

Dr Muhammad Shahid, from Department of Social Work (KU), emphasised the counseling as well as rehabilitation of the addicts and also raising awareness about drugs prevention, saying the society must be well aware of the abuses of drugs and how they destroyed the society, particularly the youth.

“We must organise such kinds of seminars in order to create awareness about the issue, especially in our youth and students,” he underscored.