Deadly infections spreading in J&K with the use of syringes by drug addicts

Deadly infections spreading in J&K with the use of syringes by drug addicts

Srinagar: Deadly infections like HIV, Hepatitis C and B, Syphilis, and Malaria are growing at an alarming rate in Jammu & Kashmir with drug abusers increasingly resorting to the use of syringes.
As per official records, there are about 25,000 persons who inject drugs (PWID) in Jammu and Kashmir, making them vulnerable to deadly infections.
It is estimated that PWID are 22 times more likely to acquire HIV than the rest of the population.
“Drugs add to the ever-growing proportion of those living with HIV. Every day, new HIV infection cases are being caused by the sharing of needles,” said a doctor at SMHS Hospital.
“In the process, people who inject drugs tend to reuse needles and share syringes with their peers,” he said.
“We receive hundreds of cases with vein-related complications, ulcer or abscess at the injecting sites. They also test positive for infection which spread through the blood stream,” the doctor said.
Another doctor told Kashmir Reader that PWIDs prefer injecting one or more opioid drugs and most of them report injecting heroin predominantly, followed by medicinal opioids and sedatives (exclusively) or Ketamine.
A recent survey by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) corroborates this alarm, reporting that nearly 6 lakh people are currently abusing opioids in J&K while 2 lakh of them are seriously dependant on drugs like doda, phukki, poppy husk, heroin, brown sugar, smack and medicinal opioids.
Director of AIDS Control Organisation, Dr Mushtaq Rather, said that instances of persons injecting drugs were raising a serious health issue.
“We receive hundreds of such cases in Kashmir and Jammu,” he said.
According to him, nearly 330 PWIDs are currently on Oral Substitution Therapy (OST) at different centers of the organisation in Jammu and Kashmir.
“We are closely monitoring them and their treatment plan, so that we achieve success in controlling the menace and prevent the spread of deadly infections,” Dr Rather said.