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    Collective efforts vital to eradicate drugs addiction, lungs cancer

    Collective efforts vital to eradicate drugs addiction, lungs cancer

    PESHAWAR (APP): Naimat Ullah (54), an employee of Wapda was living a blissful life unless he became a victim of lung cancer apparently caused by an excessive use of narcotics since his teenage.

    “We were busy in breakfast when suddenly my ‘papa jan’ started omitting with blooding and was rushed to government hospital Pabbi where he was declared a suspect of lung cancer and referred him to Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar for further diagnosis,” said Saddam Khan, son of the narcotics victim while talking to APP.

    “After preliminary radiology and CT scan, it was confirmed by the doctors that lung cancer has badly affected both lungs of my father and declared him untreatable. Later, my papa left us forever within four months after diagnosis of the killer disease,” said Saddam while tears rolled down his cheeks.

    “The excessive use of hashish deprived us of a loving father who has a great desire to see me and my elder brother as doctor and electrical engineer,” he said, although he could not materialize his dream but his brother fulfilled his wish and became an electrical engineer who is currently serving Wapda,” he said.

    “My father started hashish in deep shock after losing his younger brother in road accident and continued it in anxiety and frustration that was later proved fatal,” he said, adding normally he used three hashish cigarettes and later increases to five cigarettes ‘just a few months before his death.

    Professor Dr Ziaullah Khan, Incharge Medical Ward, Lady Reading Hospital said that all those patients whose bloods were polluted by life-threatening drugs including heroin or hashish were prone to lung and throat cancers.

    Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Pakistan, accounting for approximately 10% of all cancer cases, Dr Ziaullah said incidence of such cancer is particularly high among smokers men, with a rate of 11.2 per 100,000 populations as compared to 2.7 per 100,000 population among women.

    “The excessive use of tobaccos including cigarettes and narcotics contrabands increase risks for lung cancers and it was seen that most of rehabilitated victims restart it unless properly looked after by their families,” he maintained.

    “The drug patients often complain about stomach pain, diarrhoea, cholera, sleeplessness, weakness and starting water from eyes and ears besides depression, anxiety, panic attacks”, Dr Zia said.

    “Even educated women and men associated with different professions take drugs through injections while many use tablets and once developed pains in the kidney consult doctors. 

    Such patients were prone to lose kidneys besides becoming victims of HIV AIDs, TB and Hepatitis C. Most of ice abusers were youth and students of colleges and universities and two to one month are required for rehabilitation of ice addicts after admission,” he added.

    The treatment of drug addicts was expensive and around Rs50,000 to Rs 200,000 per patient was being spent to recover, he said. 

    “Globally, there are great concerns about polio and HIV AIDS but no serious efforts took place to eradicate the menace of drug addiction and its illicit trafficking affecting about 35 million people worldwide every year,” he said.

    The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) report revealed that about 271 million people aged 15-64 used drugs in 2017, which is 30pc higher of people that took drugs substances in 2009 while some 35 million people suffered from drugs disorders at global level and only one out of seven drugs patients received medical treatment.

    Globally, around 11 million people injected drugs in 2017 of whom, 1.4 million become victims of the killer HIV AIDS and 5.6 million of hepatitis C. The opioids drug users stand at 53.4 million, which is 56 percent higher than the previous year estimate and is responsible for two-third of 585,000 people who died due to drugs addiction in 2017.

    Uninterested for their future and families, dozens of drugs addicts can be seen laying mostly unconscious near railway track at Faqirabad, under Gul Bahar flyover on GT, bridge at Central Jail Peshawar, Tehkal and Karkhano market after they were apparently abandoned by the society.

    Alarmed by an increasing number of drug addicts, the provincial government and various organizations have waged a war against drug addiction to rehabilitate its victims and sensitize people about the perils of social evil. 

    But it is welcoming and promising that provincial authorities and welfare organizations are not oblivious to the situation and relentlessly endeavoring for betterment of addicts and to provide them room to adjust and become a respectable part of the society.

    “Waging war against drugs is not meant to merely rehabilitate addicts but it should be taken with a broad perspective to provide them hope and ample chances to earn respectable livelihood and become useful part of society”, said Syed Ali Naqi, Deputy Manager Dost Welfare Foundation.

    Dr Amjad Khan, Incharge Social Welfare Department’s Drugs Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre (DTRC), Peshawar said that approximately 6.7 million people aged 15-64 suffered from drug addiction in Pakistan. 

    About 78 percent male and 22 percent female were diagnosed of taking various types of drugs including opium, cocaine, heroines, ice, medicated and non medicated and injectable drugs.

     In KP, he said the numbers of drugs addicts had risen to 1.6 million people including 78 percent male and 22pc female during 2013.

    Professor Dr Irum Irshad, former Chairperson Psychology Department, University of Peshawar said that relapsing’ is a major problem that emanates from the indifference and discouraging attitude of society towards rehabilitated addicts, who often face contempt of people living around them.

    She opinioned community mobilization and changing the mindset of people to support drug addicts, would help in giving them confidence of having social support and courage to survive with self- esteem.

    Dr Amjad said that 11 detox units and drugs rehabilitation centres including Mardan, Peshawar, Nowshera, Charsadda, Kohat, Karak, Swabi, Swat, Malakabd and DI Khan districts were established for treatment and psychological services to such patients.

    Detoxification and rehabilitation centres were set up in 12 districts of the province while a model such centre was established at Lakki Marwat. He said the numbers of beds at DTRC would be increased from existing 120 to 500.

    Four pronged strategy was adopted focusing on supply reduction, controlling illicit drugs trafficking, treatment and rehabilitation measures besides enhancing cooperation with national institutions and enforcement agencies to win fight against drugs.


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