The User

Mian Abid is a 40-year-old Ice user in Lahore

I am not an addict. Let me make that very clear. I don’t have a history of drug abuse. In fact, I am a family man. I live with my wife and two school-going children in a house in Old Lahore.

As for my use of Ice, well, I can abandon that whenever I want. It’s really easy for me. I only consume when I have to, not otherwise.

I will admit that I am a dangerous man. Here, in this part of town, everyone knows me. There are over 300 police cases registered against me and my gang for robberies, dacoity, gambling, armed conflicts, etc.

Yet, I am a free man. Not behind bars.

Now, I started using crystal meth eight, maybe ten, years ago.

I am a regular, you see, at brothels in the posh Defense and Gulberg areas of Lahore. That is where I became hooked. One of the owners told me it helps, well, increase your experience at a brothel. So, I tried it. And I liked what it did for me.

It also boosts my level of confidence when working or evading police capture. Again, I don’t think it is killing me, as I only use it when I visit the women.

I buy my stash, a few grams per week, from the brothels or from someone returning from Iran or Africa. It isn’t hard to smuggle Ice into the country. It looks like sugar. You can easily carry it in a jar and the airport authorities will never suspect a thing.

I pay around Rs. 3,000 per gram, sometimes Rs. 2,000. Heroin is cheaper though and can go for as less as Rs.700 per gram. Funnily, Ice is known to cost less when there are political rallies in the city. Don’t ask me why.

These days I am looking for a new house.

My wife wants me to move out. She says it is hard for her to deal with daily exchanges with the police, who are on my hunt.

I want that too.

I want my children to go to better schools.

I want a better life for them.

The Anti Narcotic Force says it has been able to identify 150,000 Ice users residing in Lahore. There maybe many who remain unknown.

Not a single First Information Report has been registered against a crystal meth user or seller in the city, to date.

Geo.TV spoke to 50 police officers, none of whom seem to have any knowledge about the drug or its effects.