Neighboring Afghanistan is the world's largest opium producer (heroin's main ingredient), accounting for nearly 90% of the world's opium supply. And nearly 40% of that is smuggled through the large port city of Karachi. In turn, the city has become a haven for addicts who can buy a dose of heroin for less money than a decent meal.

The problem, say many officials in the country, is that there is a severe lack of rehabilitation services against a major surplus of and accessibility to the drug. It is estimated that there are over six million addicts in Pakistan, at least 1 million of those addicted to heroin, and yet there are less than 80 dedicated rehabilitation facilities.


Army Gen. Khawar Hanif, the ANF's director general, said there was no real policy for maintaining rehabilitation centers for drug addicts and alcoholics across the country. “Lack of proper treatment facilities for drug addicts in the province means the lives of about 1.6 million drug addicts are at risk," he told News Lens Pakistan. Adult patients take 45 to 75 days for treatment, while children 8 to 18 years old take up to three months. They are treated for addictions to everything from hashish to opium and heroin and include intravenous drug users. According to the UNODC report, Pakistan consumes 44 tons of heroin a year. About 110 tons of heroin and morphine are smuggled through Pakistan to international markets from Afghanistan annually. Pakistan’s illegal drug trade is believed to generate up to $2 billion a year.

The report said 74 percent of the world's opium is produced in Afghanistan, and 40 percent of this is supplied to the rest of the world through Pakistan. Another 34 percent goes through Iran, and the rest is smuggled through Russia and other Central Asian countries. Experts believe it is one of the main reasons that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a border province like Balochistan — which also has a high drug prevalence and addiction rate — accounts for a high number of drug abusers.

Almost 5.8 per cent of the adult population, approximately 6.4 million persons or one in every 27 persons in Pakistan is using drugs while nearly 25 per cent of the youth population is involved in some form of drug abuse in Pakistan.


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