Alarming surge in drug addiction cases in Kashmir: IMHANS reports a threefold increase in 5 years

SRINAGAR, OCT 20: In a worrying trend, Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (IMHANS) reveals a startling increase in drug addiction cases in the picturesque region of Kashmir. Over the past five years, the number of individuals grappling with addiction has surged threefold, and the consequences are dire.

According to IMHANS, since its establishment, three lives have been tragically lost due to drug addiction. These heart-wrenching incidents underscore the urgent need for comprehensive addiction treatment and prevention efforts.

In 2019, 5,000 people sought treatment for drug addiction in various centers across the region. However, by August 2023, this number has skyrocketed to a staggering 22,000, indicating a crisis that demands immediate attention.

IMHANS has been a critical player, under the auspices of IMHANS, has treated a total of 86,000 patients for drug addiction. This demonstrates the institute’s dedication to alleviating the crisis and providing a beacon of hope for those in need.

The outpatient department (OPD) at IMHANS has seen a significant uptick in visitors seeking assistance. In 2019, 5,113 patients received treatment, while 7,402 individuals sought help in 2020. These numbers soared to 23,000 in 2021, an astonishing 41,110 in 2022, and the trend continues in 2023, with 22000 individuals seeking treatment for addiction up to August 20th. These statistics emphasize the critical role IMHANS plays in supporting those affected by addiction.

The surge in drug addiction cases in Kashmir underscores the pressing need for coordinated efforts among authorities, healthcare institutions, and communities to combat this crisis. Immediate and effective interventions are required to address the root causes and provide much-needed support to those battling addiction.

As the situation unfolds, IMHANS and other healthcare providers remain at the forefront of this battle, striving to save lives and bring hope to the people of Kashmir.

A study conducted by the Department of Psychiatry at Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar revealed that heroin has become the most commonly abused narcotic among individuals dealing with substance addiction, surpassing other drugs. The survey also indicated that younger males between the ages of 15 to 28 are more prone to drug use compared to older males.

The situation in Kashmir is deteriorating said  a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at IMHANS GMC Srinagar, reporting an increasing number of drug addiction cases at the SMHS drug de-addiction center.

This rise in addiction can be attributed to factors such as peer pressure, easy drug accessibility, youthful pursuit of excitement, the desire for mobility, and family conflicts. In terms of patients, there are approximately 15 to 20 new daily cases, with the remainder being follow-up cases. Notably, the vast majority of drug addiction patients are male, with very few female patients seeking treatment. Unfortunately, the impact of the drug problem has taken a heavy toll on female family members.

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