Pulwama, Apr 25: Doctors at District Hospital (DH) Pulwama revealed that out of every 10 mental health patients who report to the health facility, 5 turn out to be suffering from addiction of one or other drug substance.
Doctors from the Addiction Treatment Facility (ATF) at District Hospital Pulwama said that drug addiction is very high among mental health patients in this southern district.
Dr Syed Ummer, Incharge Medical Officer ATF, DH Pulwama, said that since August of 2021 till 25 April, 2023 they have registered around 750 patients.
“During this phase more than 7,000 follow up patients were seen at the ATF,” he said.
He added that reported cases constitute the tip of the iceberg.
The doctor said that peer pressure remains the main driving force for addiction.
“Escapism from real life problems is another dominant factor,” he said.
He revealed that heroin is the most common drug abused by addicts.
He said that it is a myth that people from lower sections of society or youth struggling with studies fall prey to addiction.
“We have patients from all sections of society,” he said, adding that addiction is a disease not a choice which can affect anybody. He said that they registered addiction patients from age of 11 to 55.
The doctor told that addiction is like any other disease.
"What makes it different from other diseases is that it affects not only the victim but his or her family and the society at large," he said.
A patient recovering from addiction, echoed Dr Syed Ummer’s view that peer pressure is a dominant driving force.
“I became an addict three years ago,” he said, wishing to remain anonymous.
The youth in his prime said it was during a picnic his friends insisted him to snuff some drugs and gradually he became addicted.
“ For these three years, I used to snuff heroin and ganja,” he said.
Though, stigma and social discrimination discourage patients from seeking treatment.
He, however, reported to ATF, DH Pulwama, where he was counselled and put on treatment. Slowly, he is recovering.
Dr Syed Ummer said that each member of the society has a role to play in eradicating the menace of drug abuse from the society.