Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Alarming rate of drug use among private school students in Islamabad: report

The addicts are either provided intoxicants by their fellows or teachers, says report prepared by an NGO


ISLAMABAD: Up to 53 percent students of large private schools in Islamabad are addicted to drugs, a shocking report presented before Senate Standing Committee on Interior and Narcotics Control revealed on Wednesday, prompting summons to all officials concerned.

The report prepared by a non-government organisation (NGO) stated that 44 to 53 percent students of large private schools in the federal capital are addicted to various kinds of drugs. The addicts are either provided intoxicants by their fellows or teachers, it added to the astonishment of committee members.

Dr. Maria Sultan, director general of South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) attended the meeting as special invitee. "The average age of students in the private schools, in which nearly 44 to 53 percent of pupils are taking either artificial or hard drugs or were addicted to heroine, is in the age groups 12-16 and 16-19," she said.

"Pupils use drugs during study hours, while they also include some students as little as eight-year-old," it said. "At some schools the intoxicants are available at canteens, while addicts also get them easily from street vendors."

The shocking revelations left the members of the Senate committee appalled, who sought an inquiry report into the matter within 15 days. The committee also summoned the IG Islamabad and chief secretaries of the concerned departments.

"I declare war on drugs and appeal to civil society, politicians and media to play their due role for welfare of those suffering from addiction, and help save our coming generations," Senator Rehman Malik said, while chairing the meeting here.

The schools, colleges and universities should take strict measures to have a check on drug-related activities on the campuses and should be made responsible to report to authorities, he said.

Malik tasked senators Mukhtar Ahmed Dhamrah and Chaudhry Tanvir to prepare proposals so as to further improve performance of Narcotics Division in consultation with federal and provincial authorities.

The committee recommended that the provincial chief secretaries along with the IGs and home secretaries are directed to attend the next meeting and brief the committee about the provincial programmes planning in combating the menace of drug addiction in youth.

Senator Rehman Malik also commended the Narcotics Control Division for curbing the menace in spite of its limited resources.