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J& K parents want addict kids in jail.

" I WANT the police to take away my son and lodge him in Central Jail for five years," said a 50- year- old man from Srinagar.

This strange request comes from an aggrieved father whose 20- yearold son has become addicted to drugs and the family has exhausted all alternative but to seek a jail term to reform their son.

Bashir Sidque, 42, a lawyer in Jammu and Kashmir High Court, gets many such requests from desperate parents in Srinagar. They hope that a trip to prison, in particular the Central Jail Srinagar, will reform their children addicted to drugs.

The lawyer said aggrieved parents frequently visit his office with only one request -- to ensure that their ' accused' sons remain in jail for years.

" Their sons are drug addicts. They are being booked under minor offences like disturbing peace but they easily manage bail. Their parents want them to remain in jail and approach me. What can I do?" said Sidque.

The Central Jail Srinagar has a huge number of inmates comprising former militants and separatist political prisoners.

Parents believe that by remaining in the company of former militants and political prisoners for a prolonged period, their drug addict sons would turn towards religion and become good citizens.

But there is another problem on the path to recovery. A police official said Central Jail authorities refuse to take in drug addicts. " Once drug addicts land in jail, they suffer from withdrawal symptoms, at times collapsing.

If someone dies in jail, it can become a law and order issue in a sensitive place like Kashmir," the official said.

Dr Arshid Hussain is a consultant at Government Psychiatric Diseases Hospital in Srinagar. He said many parents have also approach him to keep their drug addict kin in the hospital.

But he said they cannot do so.

" We cannot keep addicts in the hospital.

There should be a proper rehabilitation centre for drug addicts but there are none," he added.

Dr Hussain has described drug abuse in the valley as " epidemic". " When deaths occur due to overdose of opioids, it is epidemic. Kashmir has already witnessed deaths due to opioid overdose. The substance abusers have no profile. The addicts are rich and poor, employed and unemployed, traumatised and resilient, educated and illiterate. We need to have rehabilitation centres," he said.

At present, Kashmir has only three government- run de- addiction service centres. " All the 10 beds at our centre are occupied with 300 waiting to get admitted," said Dr Muhammad Muzaffer Khan, head, police de- addiction service centre, Srinagar.

Dr Khan said a survey by United Nations Drug Control Programme said there are over 60,000 drug users in Kashmir and a rush in our outpatient department is an indication of the alarming increase in drug abusers in the Valley. He said most addicts are in the age of 16 to 30.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jan 22, 2014
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