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ANF lacks fresh data on narcotics use in Pakistan, entire policing on 2013 drug survey

Islamabad: The Ministry of Narcotics Control and its leading sub-department Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) lack fresh data on drug use in the country and their entire policing and strategies are based on the drug survey conducted in 2013.

The record on drug use received by The Reporters under the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017 is based on the survey conducted by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics in coordination with UNODC in 2012 and published in 2013.

As per the document shared by the ANF on behalf of the Narcotics ministry, approximately 6.7 million people [6% of the population] were using controlled substances in 2012 while volunteers’ active against drug abuse in the society estimate the number of drug users around 10 million.

Approx 6.7 million people were using controlled substances in 2013  and according to volunteers involved in anti-drug activities this figure has reached to approx 10 million.

It is to mention here that former Narcotics minister Shehryar Afridi has also expressed concerns over the alarming drug abuse situation in the country, particularly in Islamabad’s educational institutions.  Despite such an alarming situation, the ministry could not conduct a drug survey even at the capital level.

The document states that an estimated 4.25 million people are thought to be suffering from drug use disorders and drug dependence. The number of male drug dependents is 5.2 million while 1.5 women were suffering drug addiction.

Despite, former Narcotics minister Shehryar Afridi expressed grave concerns over the alarming drug abuse situation in Islamabad’s educational institutions, no fresh survey could be conducted so far.

He, however, said that for an effective and a result oriented policing drug survey is required after every two or three years.A senior officer in the Narcotics ministry, requested not to be named, said that a fresh survey is due for the past few years but due to lack of financial resources the next drug survey could not be conducted. They are in coordination with UNODC for the next survey, he added.

Around 4 million people were victims of cannabis, one million of Opiates, 0.01 million of stimulants, 1.6 million of non-medical use of prescription drugs and 350,000 were using solvents in 2013 while  The experts active in anti-narcotics campaigns have view that drug abuse in the society, particularly among youth is alarming, adding that the trend of crystal meth among youth is on the rise.In provinces wise tallies, Punjab is on the top with 2.9 million drug users, Sindh 1.7 million, KP 1.6 million and Baluchistan at the bottom with 0.28 million drugs dependents, the official record reveals.

It is to mention here that the drug survey was supposed to be conducted in June 2019 but could not be conducted so far.

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