Drug abuse, known to be widespread among youth in Kashmir Valley, is now showing a new trend whereby teenage girls are increasingly turning into addicts.College-going girls are abusing substances, especially toluene, a common thinner, is testified to by officials at the de-addiction centre in Srinagar.Sources told Press Trust of Kashmir that girls students abuse or ‘glue sniffing’ has become widespread because the chemical is readily found in paints, petrol, varnishes, lacquers, paint thinners, adhesives, glues, rubber cement and shoe polish. The abuse of toluene is getting very common in Kashmir because it is easily available.Sources further said that getting other drugs is a bit more difficult for girls than buying ink remover or polish.When Press Trust of Kashmir talks with doctors they said that the major causes for drug addiction among girls are study pressure, stress, family disputes, failure in life, examination stress, love affairs.Sources further said that due to lack of facilities, social stigma restricts women from seeking rehabilitation or treatment.While taking with some girl students they said that it’s important to keep it in view the social stigma which female drug addicts face, it is important to set up a de-addiction centre for girl students.One of the girl name changed Asma while taking to Press Trust of Kashmir said that she began with glue sniffing “for fun” during her school days and then moved on to opiates.
Fear of social stigma and lack of facilities in Kashmir Asma’s parents to take her outside Kashmir for treatment. She said that “now I am fine after the treatment of 11 months I am okay”.Sources said that the health department does not maintain data on the status of drug addiction in Kashmir.Zainab one of the medical students while taking to Press Trust of Kashmir said that youth on drugs may physically live in the same house with their families, but live alone emotionally.She added that they do not care about what happens to their near ones and these insensitivities extend towards society. Reports revealed that 65 to 70 percent of the student community in Kashmir was into drugs and that 43 percent of female students were involved in drug abuse. More than 70 percent of addicts fall in the 18-35 age-group.Sources confirmed that no survey has since been undertaken in the health department.One of the doctor while taking to Press Trust of Kashmir said that girls on drugs may physically live in the same house with their families, but live alone emotionally. They do not care about what happens to their near ones and these insensitivities extend towards society.The problem of drug abuse in Kashmir was first highlighted by the United Nations International Drug Control Programme survey in 2008 which showed that there were more than 70,000 drug addicts in Kashmir.That survey also revealed that 65 to 70 percent of the student community in Kashmir was into drugs and that 38 percent of female students were involved in drug abuse. More than 70 percent of addicts fall in the 18-35 age-group. (PTK)