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Out of total 4.5 million drug addicts in Pakistan, about 0.5 million are in Lahore alone. These figures are calculated by the Pakistan Narcotics Control Board and the World Health Organisation. The number of addicts is rapidly increasing with the fast increasing population in the country. These days Pakistan is the worst victim of the drug trade and the government should evolve strategies to check this menace.

This was disclosed by Addicts Psychiatrist Dr Sadaqat Ali in an interview with the TheNation. Dr Sadaqat Ali, a graduate from Dow Medical College, Karachi is a recognised Addiction Psychiatrist with a background of training at HAZELDEN, Minnesota, USA and Vital Smarts. He has 32 yeas experience in this field and he has also appeared on more than 2,000 TV talk shows with different channels.

Dr Sadaqat Ali said the use of charas, heroin, morphine, alcohol and intoxication injections are all included in narcotics. The use of charas and different type of intoxication injections through syringes are increasing in the youth, especially among 15- and -25-years old. These narcotics are easily available from the medical stores of the City without any prescription of the doctors, despite a ban to buy narcotics from medical stores without the prescription of the doctors. The government must have a strict surveillance on the medical stores so that they could not provide intoxication materials to the addicts, he stressed.

Acoholism emerges from a drinking culture. It is a serious health problem today, directly affecting a million of people in Pakistan. Alcohol is quickly absorbed in blood stream. The drinker feels happy, talkative, energetic, and euphoric. Performance on highly complex problems is improved with a little intake of alcohol. Alcoholic have a liver enzyme malfunction which speeds up production of a toxin acetaldehyde, Dr Sadaqat informed. He said the scenes of taking intoxication injections like morphine through used syringes are common. The addicts usually take narcotics near the nullahs and dustbins or isolated places like graveyards, etc.

According to Dr Sadaqat, there is a difference between an addict and a person who take intoxication. If an addict ruins his life after taking narcotics, he is an addict, because they are ruined due to their physical deteriorated conditions. If a person takes intoxication and remains in his senses, he is not an addict. ÒOur youth between the ages of 15 and 25 are indulging in addiction rapidly. If they avoid it from 15 to 25 years age, then they will be safe till they reach 45 years of age. Then there are rare chances that a person might get addicted from 45 years age and onwards. But the period from 15 to 25 years age is very dangerous. During this time period the parents must keep a strict check on their children,Ó Dr Sadaqat Ali suggested.

He has advised the youth for abandoning the addiction and to learn the modern ways to spend a good life. He said if a youth gets addict then his family must understand him. The family of an addict should motivate him with love and affection, because addicts never change their course with insulting attitude.

Dr Sadaqat Ali said the treatment of the addicts was the same as per international level in private clinics and in the govt hospitals, but in private clinics we see more efficiency and care to bring the addicts back to normal life. Besides, Dr Sadaqat said the awareness campaign among the youth should be started from the Matric level.

Drug addiction is always overshadowed by many of the countryÕs other human development problems, such as poverty, illiteracy and lack of basic health care. But the fact is, drug abuse is rapidly growing in Pakistan, Dr Sadaqat declared.

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