ISLAMABAD: There was a time when efforts were confined to controlling drug addiction among teenagers or males of the country at large. But today increasing tendency to use tobacco, sheesha, or even drugs, among mostly upper or lower, females has struck alarm bells in the concerned drug-rehabilitation quarters.
“Females belonging to lower and upper class of society are among the drug addicts as most of them go out of their homes and have interaction with males while the middle class females are less prone to the menace due to their parents’ control on them,” said an official of Anti Narcotics Force (ANF).
ANF has established three drug treatment centers while a 55 bed centre for females and juvenile drug addicts will be completed by the end of this year in Karachi. A similar center for females and children is planned at Rawalpindi as well.
Recently, the negative impacts of smoking in females have generated heated debate around the globe and now different segments of society are also discussing the ways to control female drug addiction.
“Tobacco use negatively affects every human organ and is the most prevalent cause of premature death among adults. As compared to nonsmoking women, those who smoke cigarettes have greater reproductive health problems, many forms of cancers, coronary and vascular diseases, chronic obstructive lung disease, and osteoporosis,” said Dr. Zoofishan Jabeen Fatima, Deputy Director at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS).
The use of Tobacco has deleterious effects on women in all stages of life. There should be constant awareness campaigns to educate teenagers about the dangerous impacts of smoking particularly in women. Brief behavioral counseling and use of evidence-based smoking cessation aids are effective strategies for achieving smoking cessation even for chain smokers, she said.
Drugs mostly used by the addicts include Opium, Morphine, Heroine, Cannabis, Hashish, Marijuana, and cocaine, Ecstasy, Methamphetamine and Buprenorphine.
Parents of female drug addicts call the Rehabilitation centers when their girls go out of control and they get the treatment mostly at their homes on the condition of not disclosing their identity.
Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, cellulitis, and liver disease. Pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia, may result from the poor health condition of the abuser, as well as from heroin’s depressing effects on respiration.
“Smoking also causes respiratory illnesses such as coughs, colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Among children and adolescents exposed to secondhand smoke, rates of asthma, ear infection and lower respiratory infections are higher,” Zoofishan informed.
The Tobacco Control Cell of the Ministry for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination has introduced the larger size of Pictorial Health Warning on cigarette packs that will cover 85 per cent of the pack on both sides that will make Pakistan only the third country in the world besides Thailand and India to have enhanced Pictorial Health Warning to 85 percent.