Prime Minister Imran Khan has launched a mobile app featuring information on narcotics to control drug abuse among youth. Children are the most vulnerable section of our society and are being exposed to drugs, but how an app will control this menace remains unanswered.
The prime minister said that drugs were previously present in universities but are now prevalent even in schools. This is affecting the lives of the country’s youth as they don’t have the maturity to deal with the issue or understand the consequences. The prime minister stated that mobile phones have aggravated the situation and they need to combat these issues on an emergency basis.
How exactly will this menace be solved with a mobile app? Children might gain awareness of drug abuse but will it deter them from drug use? It seems the app is just a small part of a much need larger solution for it is the collective responsibility of the nation to combat these issues.
The present government has launched mobile apps before as well- including one for missing children. It is not known how effective these have been or how they can be accessed. According to a description of the app, there is a complete collection of drug awareness, prevention and treatment, along with rehabilitation centres, and community support to help drug victims.
The prime minister said the app is an effort to raise awareness among parents and teachers about the dangers of drug abuse and how to tackle these issues. A book had also been launched to increase knowledge and awareness about the issue. But will raising awareness among the youth suffice?
Our nation is currently facing a severe drug abuse epidemic. Alongside China and Russia, Pakistan is among the three countries that account for 33 percent of people who inject drugs worldwide. It is estimated that 1.8 percent of our adolescents aged 10–17 are opioid users. In 2017, Pakistan reported the second-largest seizures of cannabis and the third-largest quantities of opioids including heroin.
A bill for the mandatory drug testing of school and college children never saw daylight. In fact, there is not much interest among parliamentarians when it comes to the drug epidemic. We need more effective policies and preventive measures that act as a deterrent against drug abuse.