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‘Heroin Addiction On the Rise in IHK, Deaths Go Unreported’

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The percentage of those consuming heroin and treated at a government-run facility in Srinagar in 2016 was 15 per cent of all addicts, but it has now jumped to 90 per cent, reported The Citizen.

The report says previously, the addicts treated at the facility – De-addiction Centre at SMHS Hospital – mostly used organic substances such as cannabis and opioids. But the trend has changed now as the Indian-administered Kashmir is witnessing an alarming increase in heroin consumption among the youth.

Hence, their share, which was 15 per cent in 2016, jumped to 24.3 per cent in 2017 and nearly doubled in 2018 to 45.6 per cent. And this year till June 20, more than 90 per cent out of 342 patients were using heroin.

A senior doctor said the number of cases reported at the SMHS Hospital was just a “tip of the iceberg” of the larger simmering crisis. “Most of the drug abuse cases go unreported because the victims don’t report for treatment due to fears of social stigma.”

Another doctor described the situation as alarming and warned that the region would go down the same path as [Indian] Punjab and other conflict-hit states in northeast.

Doctors Association Kashmir president Dr Nisar ul Hassan said heroin-related deaths go unreported. Heroin addicts admitted in the de-addiction centre at SMHS Hospital revealed that their friends were dying on regular basis due to heroin use and these deaths weren’t reported, he added.

“The official figure of 343 heroin addicts in the valley is a gross underestimate as most of the abusers don’t seek medical attention,” he remarked.

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