Imams in Baramulla respond to a police order to give anti-drug sermons on Friday
Imams in Baramulla respond to a police order to give anti-drug sermons on Friday

According to a recent study, the average monthly cost of abuse in Kashmir is Rs 88,000, and this number is growing.

To be more specific, the research indicates that heroin addicts in Kashmir rack up monthly costs of Rs 88,183.58, which represents a huge impact on the local economy.


Srinagar: A person addicted to heroin spends a whopping Rs 88,000 per month on the drug in Kashmir, a cost that is constantly rising due to the narrowing of supply channels. The difficulties in procurement are pushing more people to seek treatment, doctors believe.

In the year 2022, a humongous 41,110 people sought treatment for substance abuse in Kashmir, data from the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (IMHANS) reveals.

The number is nearly double the number of treatment seekers in 2021 (23,403).

As per a study titled Prevalence and Pattern of Substance Use Disorders in Kashmir (2022)’ carried out by IMHANS in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Directorate of Health, Kashmir, heroin is the primary drug of abuse in all the districts of Kashmir.

The study was carried out across 10 districts in Kashmir province.

The survey revealed that the average cost incurred by one person consuming a gram of heroin per day was to the tune of Rs 88,183.

Precisely, the study reveals that heroin users in Kashmir have a monthly expenditure of Rs 88,183.58, indicating a significant economic burden.

A previous study conducted by the same authors in Srinagar and Anantnag districts of Kashmir also demonstrated a similar strain on the local economy, the researchers state.

The survey findings highlight a concerning opioid epidemic among the youth, with a prevalence rate of 2.23 percent in Kashmir.

This places the region among the areas in the country with the highest opioid usage, surpassing Punjab and trailing only the North East.

However, over the past year, doctors treating addiction at the Drug De-Addiction and Treatment Centre (DDTC) of IMHANS, located at SMHS Hospital here, have witnessed that more and more people are coming forward seeking treatment as they are unable to afford heroin now.

In-Charge of DDTC, Prof. Yasir H. Rather, said that the primary reason for this increase in numbers was the cost escalation of heroin owing to the decrease in supply.

“The anti-narcotics forces have been able to shrink the supply with huge consignment seizures and crackdowns on peddlers. The results of that are visible,” he said.

Dr. Rather said that anecdotal evidence reveals that a gramme of heroin would cost Rs 2000–3000 in 2022, but the cost has escalated to around Rs 6,000 now due to a shortage of supply.

“While the demand remained static for some time and the costs rose, a lot of abusers were left with no choice but to seek treatment,” he said.

The treatment of heroin addiction involves Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST), provided under strict medical supervision.

“OST serves as a compassionate lifeline, providing individuals grappling with opioid addiction the opportunity for recovery and renewal, guiding them towards a path of healing and hope. By replacing destructive cycles with support and evidence-based medical intervention, OST paves the way for resilience and lives free from the grips of opioid dependency,” Dr. Rather said.

He hopes that the supply channels for heroin will be completely plugged in the near future and that fewer lives will be devastated.

Heroin abuse and the costs it incurs have been closely linked to the rise in crimes in Kashmir.

Recently, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Srinagar, Muhammad Aijaz, said that 95 percent of theft cases in Srinagar were linked to drugs.

As per the official data, in the year 2022, Police registered a total of 1021 cases under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, leading to the arrest of 1700 drug peddlers, among whom 138 were notorious offenders.

Concurrently, significant amounts of illicit substances were confiscated by the security agencies, including 212 kg of charas, 56 kg of heroin, 13 kg of brown sugar, 4.35 tonnes of poppy straw, and 1.57 tonnes of fukki.



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