Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Narcotics Control was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhary here at the Parliament house on Friday.
A Comprehensive Briefing on Rehabilitation process and facilities extended by the Ministry throughout the country and further enhancement and way forward planning for the control on the use of Narcotics across the country was received by the standing committee in detail.
The committee was apprised that according to UNODC’s survey on Drug Abuse in Pakistan, 2013, the number of drug addicts were 6.7 million; however the estimated number of addicts today stands close to 9 million. The number of Drug users increased in the last few years and the Ministry alone cannot construct and run Drug Rehabilitation and Treatment Centers. The Ministry also informed the committee that survey on Drug user in Pakistan is expected to be conducted in 2023. The Chairman Committee stressed that a factual figure is the need of the day as the use of drugs in youth has increased by manifolds, since 2013
The Ministry of Narcotics Control apprised the committee that it is not the mandate of the Ministry to undertake rehabilitation/ treatment of drugs addicts. According to “section 52 and 53 of CNSA ACT 1997” the responsibility for the registration and rehabilitation of drug addicts falls within the purview of the Provincial Government. The committee was informed that ANF is running 4x Model Addiction Treatment & Rehabilitation Centers (MATRCs) with the support ‘patronage of Provincial Govt/ MNC, one running in the Islamabad Capital Territory established in 2005. It comprises of 45 bedded hospital, since 2005 a total number of 6652 drugs addict patients have been treated till Aug 2021 and the 2nd hospital is in Karachi established in 2010, it comprises of 205 bedded hospital ( including 25 bedded for female ward and 25 bedded Juveniles ward, being managed by the Govt of Sindh. It was informed that in the Karachi hospital since 2010, a total of 6548 drugs addict patients have been treated till Aug 2021.
It was noted by the committee that no hospitals have been established in Punjab, Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The committee observed that the lack of establishing centers in the provinces is a great matter of concern and steps should be taken to address the problem.
The committee was apprised on the current scenario of treatment and Rehabilitation services in Pakistan. It was informed that there are 130 Treatment Facilities Centers and of 6,500 total treatment beds capacity. The annual treatment capacity is 30,000 and 1370 clinical staff including doctors, psychologist, psychiatrist and nurse. The committee was apprised that 15pc of clients were treated for Heroine and 31pc for cannabis Hashish and 33pc addicts treated for crystal. Senator Jam Mahtab Hussain Dahar questioned on the focus of drug control and count amongst the Elite Class, which has become the trend of the day. Cocaine is called the Rich men’s Aspirin. He said that while the poor class is addicted to drugs because they are succumbed to vulnerable circumstances, it’s a recreation for the Rich. The committee stressed on the measures taken to control drugs not only amongst the detested but also in the rich class, which has adopted it as a matter of leisure. The Secretary Ministry, informed the committee that there is no religious motivation for drugs such as heroin weed and hash etc. The secretary said that it was earlier recommended that the Mulana’s should spare time from Friday prayers on religious motivation on the Prohibition of Drugs, which should not only be restricted to the use of alcohol alone.
The Chairman committee stressed on the role of the Ullama’s on the Prohibition of the use of Drugs. The Chairman Committee recommended, that the Ullama should spare five minutes time prior to Friday prayers on the use of Narcotics and bring awareness in the people on its religious prohibition and punishment for the Muslims. The Chairman committee will forward this recommendation through the President of Pakistan.
Briefing was given on different types of Drugs and its usage amongst the youth of all classes.
The Chairman Committee recommended holding meetings at provincial level with the Chief Minister, on a line of actions on the establishment of rehabilitations center across the country and on the awareness on its usage.
The meeting was attended by Senator Shahadat Awan, Senator Anwar Lal Dean and Senator Jam Mahtab Hussain Dahar. Senior officers from the Ministry for Narcotic Control were also in attendance.