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6% Adult Pakistanis Used Drugs in 2013, UNODC Report Says

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) representative in Pakistan Cesar Guedes and Joint Secretary Narcotics Control Division Mian Zulqarnain Amir released a report titled “Drug Use in Pakistan 2013”.

According to the report, people in Pakistan aged between 15 to 64 years use drugs in different forms. The statistics of this report claim that 6% or 6.7 Million adults in Pakistan had used drugs in 2013. 25 to 39 years age has the highest frequency. About 4.5 Million people are totally dependent on drugs. The treatment opportunities to these people fall short due to the absence of specialists. Only 30,000 drug users every year can be treated with current specialists. 80% men and 20% women combine together to form 6.7 Million drug addicts in Pakistan. Women were less likely to have been treated. In majority of the cases, the treatment is not free either. Pakistan is a poverty stricken country where a quarter of the population lives on less than 1.25 dollars per day and financial barrier makes it almost impossible for every drug addict to get treatment.

Cannabis is the most used drug in Pakistan having 3.6% users or 4 Million people. Opium and Heroin ranks second and it is used by almost 1% of drug addicts. Heroin and Opium are mainly used in the areas that have borders shared with Afghanistan as the neighbor is principal poppy cultivating area.

Women in particular are addicted to non-medical use of prescription drugs all over Pakistan. Opioid-based painkillers, tranquilizers and sedatives are the most common types of misused drugs in women all over Pakistan and due to absence of proper check or laws governing the purchase of medicine from stores, these are really easy to obtain. Emergence of methamphetamine in various parts of the country is also noticed according to the report.

Using drugs through injection is also picking up and currently 430,000 drug users apply this method. This makes them vulnerable to HIV and other types of blood-borne diseases.

This report titled “Drug Use in Pakistan 2013” is the outcome of a collaborative research effort by Narcotics Control Division Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

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