News / Asia

    UN Survey Finds 6 Million Pakistani Drug Users

    A drug addict leans on a wall after injecting himself with a dose of heroin on a street in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Feb. 14, 2012.A drug addict leans on a wall after injecting himself with a dose of heroin on a street in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Feb. 14, 2012.
    x
    A drug addict leans on a wall after injecting himself with a dose of heroin on a street in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Feb. 14, 2012.
    A drug addict leans on a wall after injecting himself with a dose of heroin on a street in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Feb. 14, 2012.
    Ayaz Gul
    Pakistan’s first comprehensive survey on drug use, conducted with the help of the U.N.’s anti-narcotics agency, reveals that a substantial portion of the country’s population suffers from the devastating consequences of substance use. 

    U.N. officials say the extensive survey of drug use in Pakistan is the first of its kind in south and west Asia, and provides a baseline for the government to plan effective polices to deal with the growing problem.

    The research estimates that nearly six percent - or 6.4 million adult Pakistanis - used drugs in the last 12 months. It says cannabis, or marijuana, is the most commonly consumed drug in the country, with four million people users. 

    Moreover, the report says opium and heroin are used by almost one percent of drug users in Pakistan, and a majority of them are in provinces that border Afghanistan.

    Jeremy Douglas, country director for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, hailed the survey as a significant step forward in Pakistan’s anti-drug efforts.

    “Now we can speak with some authority about how many drug users - in, say, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa or Baluchistan vis-a-vis Punjab - we can say what types of drugs people [are] using, how they [are] using them, and then we can come up with health-based interventions for the population. So it is really a big milestone for the government,” he said.

    Douglas says provincial health and education officials need to address the drug issue if they want to make effective use of the survey findings.

    “Because at the moment they don’t offer any drug treatment, provincial governments, and because they run the hospitals and the health networks, if there is going to be any success on the health side they have to do it," he said. "And same on education: provinces run education, so they have to pick up and start [to] use provincial campaigns for their schools to educate children not to get into drugs.”

    Neighboring Afghanistan produces an estimated two-thirds of the world’s supply of illicit opiates, and more than 45 percent of it is trafficked to international markets through Pakistan every year.  Local officials blame the illegal trade for the increased levels of opium and heroin use in Pakistan.

    The U.N.'s Jeremy Douglas says the international community needs to boost support for Pakistan to better equip and train its counter-narcotics forces to curtail drug trafficking from neighboring Afghanistan. But he says improving coordination among national law-enforcing institutions is even more vital.

    "At the moment there is a lot of effort taking place but it is modest effort often, and it is disconnected effort. So if the efforts can be enhanced across the board, then probably there would be a very positive impact on the society,” said Douglas.

    The U.N.-sponsored survey estimates that more than 400,000 Pakistanis are injecting drugs, making that population considerably more vulnerable to HIV and other blood-borne diseases.  The report also shows an “alarmingly high prevalence in non-medical use of prescription drugs nationwide, particularly among women.”

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora