Narcotics Challenge

The scourge of drug addiction has increasingly tightened its grip on our nation, and recent statistics have revealed a significant rise in drug-related deaths, particularly among the youth. Re­ports from last year showed a total count of 560 addicts who died, and this death count is not restricted to a specific segment of society either.

The problem has moved beyond our stereotypical image of homeless or lower-income individuals falling prey to drug use. This is a pervasive issue that transcends social strata, with some of the most dangerous op­tions like crystal meth emerging as the most popular choices among the younger demographic. Pakistan’s present is riddled with enough prob­lems as it is, but this malaise will impair the future of our nation, and this needs to be addressed as a threat to our collective well-being.

Commendable efforts have been taken by CM Maryam Nawaz, who is spearheading an intensified campaign against both users and sellers. The recent crackdown in Punjab saw over 10,000 raids, has revealed a shocking amount of usage and thousands have been arrested. This is exactly the amount of volume needed in order to eradicate this prob­lem because based on past measures of introducing legal consequenc­es, our populace has not been deterred.

This is not about the lives of individuals either; drug addiction can eas­ily permeate into the broader socio-economic landscape of the country. Right next to the rising unemployment rates we have seen in recent years, drug use is one of the biggest catalysts for the surge in criminal activities across the nation. The lucrative nature of drug peddling does not just feed crime but acts as fuel for terrorism and militant activities in border re­gions where these substances often originate as well. There is a strong link between drug trafficking and our security threats, and as part of our anti-terror operations in the country, this is an important avenue we need to take into account. The nexus between drug peddling and mili­tancy is mainly dependent on the finance that the former provides, so eradicating the peddling will go a long way in addressing both issues.

This battle must be waged on multiple fronts; the relentless pursuit of a drug-free society is a never-ending battle for most nations around the globe, but we cannot let this deter us. Safeguarding our future gen­erations is the best chance we have to rebuild and transform our nation.

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