Preventive And Rehabilitative Measures For Drug Addicted Youth
By Firdous Ah Sheikh
23 June, 2014
A Sociological Study of Rural Youth of Kashmir Valley
Drug abuse by youth is emerging as a serious health problem in Kashmir. Concerns with the use of harmful habit forming drugs by the youth appears to be a very natural reaction, as youth always constitutes the core of the society. No society can afford to see its future (youth) being ruined and hence prevention and rehabilitation demands its necessity at an early stage. The present study attempts to provide a better picture of the preventive and rehabilitative measures being carried out in Kashmir especially in rural areas. An overall sample of 200 respondents of all the stake holders concerned with the preventive and rehabilitative measures was used for the study. A stratified random sampling method was used to include all the stake holders. Very little efforts are being carried out for the rehabilitation of drug addicted rural youth.
Presently when the dramatic improvements are taken place in various sectors of life, improvement of the quality of life for many people have fallen for short of the potential that exists and rising expectations of the people who know life can be better. The rising consequence of this is that people fall prey of menace of drug abuse throughout the world and has been causing a great public concern1.
Drug abuse poses various kinds of problems imparting not just on the individual user but also on the family and the community as well. It inevitably sparks of a host of complex problems which the society at large has to bear of; including the scourge HIV/AIDS and the society at large cannot afford to keep quiet for long2. Drugs continue to ruin hundreds and thousands of people in Kashmir. The southern and the northern parts are the worst affected areas of the valley. They top the charts of having large chunk of population suffering from drug addiction. There is a steep rise in the consumption of illicit drugs in these areas especially by youth3. The preventive and the rehabilitative measures in the valley are confined to the celebration of drug de-addiction programmes, seminars and media awareness programmes. The present study highlights the role of various controlling and rehabilitating agencies like police, doctors, psychiatrists, excise officials, rehabilitative workers and officials of other govt. and non-govt organisations working for drug de-addiction cause.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The study was carried out in southern and the northern blocks of Kashmir valley as these blocks are largely composed of rural population. A sample of 200 respondents was worked out for the survey. The respondents were selected with the help of a random stratified sampling technique to include all the stake holders concerned with prevention and rehabilitation process. The Data was obtained by using an interview schedule (prepared in consultation with WHO interview schedules) and discussions with concerned stake holders. The questions were both open ended and close ended. Each close ended question was provided with an option ‘other’ to accommodate all the possible answers.
A total of 190 respondents participated in the study out of which 98 were police officials including high rank officials, 30 prominent doctors and drug controlling officials, 40 respondents were form non-govt. organisations and social activists concerned with drug de-addiction process, while rest 22 respondents were officials of excise department, lawyers and few religious scholars.
The data obtained during the study revealed that 88% of the concerning officials agreed with the increased rate of drug abuse while 12% think otherwise. The reasons behind this increase, found during the study, was that 40% of respondents perceive it due to easy availability of drugs, 20% blame to the rise of conflict situation. 15% are putting un-employment as a cause behind it while 13% think extra freedom and 12% considered some other factors like broken parental relations, love affairs and curiosity etc. It was also found that 80% associate drug abuse with criminal activities like gang rapes, domestic violence, eve-teasing, thefts etc. while 20% did not agree with it. About 60% of the respondents admit that police is showing a negative role regarding the prevention of drug menace. The reasons put forward by them are heavy law and order duties, V.V.I.P duties, anti infiltration duties and presence of black sheep in the folk while 35% of respondents advocate for the positive role of police by booking drug addicts, seizing drugs and destroying bung crops. The study also revealed that about 40% of respondents perceive controlling agencies flexible towards drug abusers, 30% reported corruptive approach while 13% strict and 12% supportive. It was also found that 55% of respondents face occasionally such situations where they experience political pressure in favour of abusers. 28% reported never while 17% often. The findings regarding the competence of controlling agencies to curb this evil reveal that 80% of respondents felt that drug controlling agencies are competent enough to curb this evil while 20% reported otherwise.
As for as the rehabilitative measures are concerned, it was widely accepted that there is not a single functional unit on part of govt and non-govt organisations in the northern and southern blocks of Kashmir for the rehabilitation of drug addict rural youth. Although police is running a drug de-addiction centre in Srinagar (Summer Capital of J&K) and also few non-govt organisations are working for this cause but 90% of the respondents find them lacking in infrastructure and man-power to accommodate huge chunk of abusers. It was also found that the State Health Department does not gather or maintain data on the status of drug addiction in Kashmir. There is not a single rehabilitation or drug de-addiction centre even at district level. 85% of the respondents find it very difficult for the rural addicts to approach to city de-addiction centre due to long distances, heavy financial expenditure and lack of awareness. The District Hospitals don not have a single doctor specially appointed for drug abusers in these rural areas. The J&K police have recently opened a drug de-addiction counselling cell at their Southern Police Headquarter but it is regarded as too mature to tackle the curse.
The study also revealed that few charity organisations are providing some sort of financial assistance but this was not regarded as a rehabilitative measure because without supervision, any kind of financial assistance can prove dangerous. During the course of study, it was found that few awareness camps, counselling sessions and medical therapy workshops are being organised annually at District level by govt and non-govt organisations and also by some individual efforts of social activists but there was found no follow up regime or after care services to stream line them properly.
Discussions with the sample representative experts regarding the possible necessary rehabilitative measures reveal that 75% of respondents recommended the need of community based rehabilitation approach and advocate special counselling units in all primary health care centres especially in the drug hub areas. They should act as referral units when the need is felt. 92% of respondents greatly felt the need of district level drug de-addiction hospitals which should also accommodate various rehabilitating programmes to stream line the affected. 52% also recommended that there should be a client approached service so that care and rehabilitation programme will go to the sufferer and not the sufferer will have to locate the service. 42% also advocated for monitored vocational service followed by treatment services. They further held that there must be concerted effort by all the stake holders and all institutions must come on board because none is isolated from the disastrous effects of drug abuse.
Based on the findings, it can be concluded that despite of being well aware regarding the menace of drug abuse and its drastic effects on the society, drug controlling agencies like police, excise officials, drug controlling officials and even religious scholars seem less interested in putting their efforts to curb this evil of drug abuse. On part of rehabilitation programme, there is total ignorance by the govt and non-govt organisations. It was highly felt that the need of hour is to establish functional Drug de-addiction Counselling Units at community level and a Drug de-addiction Hospital at District Level with some special rehabilitative and vocational programmes to stream line the sufferer. Finally it calls a joint effort from all the stake holders to eradicate this evil.
Firdous Ah Sheikh, Department of Sociology, Barkatullah University Bhopal (M.P) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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