Drug addiction refers to habitual psychological and physiological dependence on an addictive substance, a dependence that is beyond voluntary control. Initially people use drugs (heroine, codeine, marijuana, brown sugar) for entertainment or to avoid mental stress, but later they become addicted and spoil their precious lives due to this addiction.
Islam is a complete code of conduct for leading a meaningful life and it directs its faithful followers to avoid all such harmful practices. Kashmir is a land of great sufis like Sheikh Saeed Abdul Qadir Jeelani, Shah Hamdan, Nund Reshi, Lal Ded, Sheikh Humza Makhdoomi, etc, who have not only preached the lesson of equality, mutual trust, and brotherhood but have also infused a spirit of morality in the souls of every Kashmiri irrespective of social, economic, religious, or regional barriers.
As per reports and surveys conducted by many government and non-government agencies, hundreds of addicted youth, mostly aged 17-35 years, in all districts of Jammu and Kashmir are suffering from this menace which is assuming alarming proportions, to the extent that if not controlled by the collective efforts of all, it can lead to a major catastrophe.
Many factors contribute to the spread of this menace, but one main factor is the lack of trust in almighty Allah who is merciful to all. People who suffer from any failure in life turn to drugs for temporary relief but later find themselves permanently dependent on them throughout life.
Another factor which mainly contributes to this evil menace is that we have not been able to bridge the ever-increasing gap (cultural lag) between our material and non-material culture through education. Materially we have advanced in every sphere of life and have everything at our disposal to lead a comfortable life but our non-material culture, which includes religious beliefs, good values, moral traditions, etc, have tapered off and become a thing of the past. We have failed to teach the great values preached and practiced by our great sufis and saints in our schools, so as to guide our young generation to lead a life of brotherhood and satisfaction.
Parents and teachers have a great role to play in shaping and redesigning our society. They need to keep constant vigil on youth and extend their love, affection, and care to them at home and school to guide them on the right track. Mosque imams and other religious scholars must also give special attention to the problem of drug addiction and in their religious sermons give priority to making people aware and mobilised against this dreaded menace.
People who already suffer from this menace need to be seen as patients, not criminals, who need medical and psychiatric consultation for their social rehabilitation. The government needs to impose a strict ban on drugs, with law-enforcing agencies needing to gear up and utilise all their resources to uproot this menace once for all to make this sacred land really a paradise on earth.
The writer is a teacher of education at higher secondary school Gund, Sonamarag. [email protected]