LAHORE: Brig. Gen. Sajjad Ahmed Bakshi, the commander of Punjab’s anti-narcotics force said July 8 that drug addiction has increased steadily among girls and women.

"We are living in a country where drug abuse has [become] like a cancer at the heart of our society,” Bakshi said. “Greater attention should be paid to create awareness among the people about the dangers of drug abuse and the ways to avoid it.”

Pakistani women, especially young girls belonging to elite backgrounds, are becoming addicts. “It is important that women have the knowledge and skills to be a positive force in confronting this problem, especially in drug prevention,” Bakshi added. 

According to statistics, women substance abusers have high levels of depression, anxiety, feelings of powerlessness, and low levels of self-esteem. Lately there has been a surge of criminal activity involving women. Their pathway to crime is usually proceeds from trauma to drug use as self-medication to addiction and finally to crime to support their addictions.

Women have difficulty abstaining from drugs especially if their partners abuse them. "I was physically, mentally, verbally and financially abused," said one 42 year old woman addict. "I don't know why. I didn't realize it. I loved my family so much. They were supportive for me. They were there for me, but I didn't deserve what my husband put me through."

Clinical psychologist Dr Mahmooda Aftab said, “Worth noticing is that many addicted woman refuse to go into drug rehabilitation programs. They are outpatients because of the shame and stigma attached to substance dependence and addiction. They cannot stay in rehabilitation centers for cultural reasons and only go for medicine and advice.” 

The barriers to treatment for women must be addressed; most programmes are not geared to the needs of women.

Source: Hindustan Times
Date: July 11, 2009

Evangelical Fellowship Of India