Ecstasy rules the party scene
ISLAMABAD - Use of drugs and alcohol amongst Islamabad’s affluent teenagers has reached near pandemic proportions due to the ‘affordable’ and easy availability of the products fuelling the capital’s late night partying culture.
A number of interviews conducted by TheNation with the party-goers, drug users and their rehabilitators reveal that the supply of these products is so high that despite the higher demand the prices are steadily falling.
The capital has become a haven for drug peddlers and bootleggers who are making millions as the dark business is shining. Whilst the prices of daily use items have risen significantly over the last one year, there has been a sharp drop in the prices of Ecstasy pills, charas, Garda, heroine and liquid chemical in the same period making it ‘affordable’ even for those teens who do not have fat wallets, TheNation learnt.
The price of the Ecstasy pills, for example, was Rs 1100 per pill until the middle of last year. Today it is available for Rs 350—the price of an average, single meal at a fast food outlet.
The ecstasy is the most popular hook for the youngsters as it helps in non-stop dancing, loose the track of time, relate to other people more openly and brings down inhibitions.
According to psychologists, use of such substances by young people can make them vulnerable to predators since their natural defence mechanism and judgement are lowered and they are in a state of heightened excitement.
Most of the people feel liberated and good about themselves after taking this pill which was earlier legal but has been banned in the US for its side effects. It is legal only in Switzerland where it is used for psychotherapy after doctor’s prescription.
Other than the immediate loss of self-consciousness, the side effects of the Ecstasy pills include overheating, heart failure and stroke.
The other most commonly used, and much cheaper, drug is Garda (the fine quality of hash or Charas) which is available for Rs 14,000 to Rs 35,000 per kg depending on its quality.
According to a regular user, who requested his name not be mentioned, a supply of Rs 1,000 can be sufficient for a week for two friends.
A variety of alcohol is also available at your doorstep if you can afford it. This includes from fine wines to premier whiskies to non purified single mart to locally manufactured and imported bear.
The prices of alcohol range from as low as Rs 100 bottle of Murree Brewery bear to Rs 21,000 a bottle of Royal Sleute.
According to the findings of TheNation, of these addictions, the most damaging for the young people is the use of drugs which is fast spreading among the students of most of the universities of Islamabad.
B, 25, (whose full name is not being given to conceal her identity) is a student of a private university of Islamabad. She is addicted to alcohol, hash and cigarette. This addiction has caused her weight and hair loss.
Talking to TheNation Dr. Jameel Ahmad, Head of Iqra University Islamabad said, their management takes strict measures to control the use of cigarette and hash inside the premises of the institution. A committee has been formed and counseling sessions are held to make the students aware of the negative effects of the drugs, he added.
Commander Muhammad Karim, Deputy Director of Bahria University Islamabad said the university management takes strict measures to stop the usage of drugs. He said the students who are found taking drugs are penalized.
Faraz, a student of MBA in Bharia University Islamabad, claimed there is a small percentage of students who take joints before taking their classes. They, he said, do it to give an impression that they are doing something unusual. “Cigarette and joints are considered an important part of the educational activities in present time,” he added.
Maaz, another student of MBA final from the same university said, “Students spend their life in a strict environment up to their intermediate level and when they get admission into universities it means they are getting into an established system of having hash and puff.” Students use joints in the parking lots of the universities, he claimed.
The Vice Chancellor, Quaid-e-Aazam University Islamabad, Dr. Muhammad Qasim Jaan told TheNation that there are no such cases inside the premises of the university and in case any student is caught while using drugs, he or she is brought to the Disciplinary Committee. This committee is responsible to take notice of drug use inside the premises of the university. When he was told there are interviews of the University students who claim they take drugs, he said, “He will be happy if TheNation provides him the names of those students.”
Interviews with the students of various universities confirmed that puff and hash have become an acceptable activity for most of them. The use of drugs is considered an important element of hip-hop culture of Isloites and the part of their education as well. The ones who don’t try this “gracious wealth” are considered as “Paindu” or “conservatives”.
A number of students said the peer pressure, surrounding influence, rising frustration, unavailability of jobs,
poverty and ‘competition’ among the students of so-called elite families, and a knack for aping the western culture are pushing them to get into this habit.
Although weekends are the right occasions to try drugs but friends’ birthday parties, Valentine’s Day, New Year night, Chaand Raat, Basant etc are the occasions when things spin out of control.
A senior psychologist, Shaheen Akhtar of Sach NGO, said, “The impact of drugs among youngsters is growing with a greater speed as a fashion.” She advocated for preventive measures to save the youngsters from falling into the trap of using hash and smoking. “Awareness programs and effective campaigns with the support of government should be organized to discourage the use of drugs,” she added.
The social pressure on the youngsters also makes them vulnerable to taste drugs and then get used to it. Laiq Mubarik, 38, of Najjat Trust, Rawalpindi, became an addict under the pressure of his friends. “I got into the habit of taking hash and heroine due to the influence of my friends.” There was an inspiration on my part to be in line with them, he added.
The gender difference regarding the use of drugs has finished. Many girls are getting into this habit too and they hardly get frowned upon by the onlookers while using it openly as this signifies their hippy life style.
Usman Shafique 30, a student of Law College Punjab University, became addicted to the drugs under the influence of his class fellows. Usman, who is now under treatment at Nai Zindagi Trust, Bhara Kahu, said, “I got a chance to go to dance parties with my girlfriend who insisted upon me to take drug through a syringe. I couldn’t refuse her as I wanted to be close to her.” The ratio of girls using hash, cigarette, syringes and alcohol has increased more than boys with a tremendous pace, he claimed.
Tauseef Qureeshi, Project Director of Nai Zindagi Trust said that the most common and the most fatal way of using drug are “syringes” which transfer HIV virus to the users. “Many youngsters are unaware of the harmful effects of using syringes as it causes HIV because one syringe is used by many addicts.” A few cases of HIV have been registered in the trust, he added.
Ehsan Ullah, 28, has been identified as HIV positive by this centre during blood mapping. He was addicted to syringe usage. “ I got inspiration from my father as he was addicted to alcohol, I also started alcohol and then later hooked onto syringes.”
According to the data collected by Najjat Trust, 53 per cent more people got addicted in the year 2006 as compared to a year earlier. In this year the ratio of addicts aging 15-25 is 22 per cent more than the last year and the ratio when this age group used drug for the first time is 46 per cent higher.
Muhammad Riaz, Assistant Manager of Najjat Trust, Rawalpindi, said one of the major causes of getting into addiction is getting away from the religion. “There must be more emphasis on the religious education in the educational institutions along with modern education.”
Edited by Hellraiser006, 07 February 2007 - 05:10 PM.