Annihilating drug trafficking is a powerful starting point to break the vicious circle of social evils. The vicious circle comprising laundering of money, trafficking of drugs and financing of terrorism is appearing in Jammu and Kashmir now.

On Wednesday, Anantnag Police shared the news of having busted a huge consignment of drugs. "Huge consignment of drugs recovered from a hideout in Bijbehara. Two peddlers arrested and more to follow. FIR registered and investigation is underway," wrote the Anantnag police on its official Twitter handle.

In the video shared by the police, some thousand odd bottles of what looks like cough syrup were placed in unsuspecting grocery bag like packaging and hidden in a several feet deep ground hole.

Imade credit@Anantnag Police

How grave is the drugs problem in the Valley?

Reacting positively to the drug bust, one social media user rued over the fact that how Bijbehara had become the new Bogota. Columbia's Capital infamously associated with drugs and trafficking since the era of Pablo Escobar.

The main de-addiction facility in the Kashmir Valley, the SMHS de-addiction centre registered a 945 per cent rise in patients since 2017-17, when 489 patients visited its OPD section between April 2016 and March 2017. In the next year, this number rose to 3622 and to 5,113 the year after that.

From the horse's mouth

When IBTimes India reached out to SSP Anantnag, Imtiyaz Hussain, he admitted to the gravity of the situation, "Especially in the southern part of the valley, drug abuse is an epidemic of quite alarming proportions."

As for the 1500 bottles recovered comprising codeine phosphate, he says, "They use this for intoxication. If unrecovered, they would have been consumed and misused without doing the official rounds of chemists and pharmacy. 1 or 2 bottles of this gives the same level of intoxication that one bottle of whiskey provides."

Since security and terrorism are constant in the region, there aren't many liquor shops in the region, which adds to the addicts falling prey to such short cuts for intoxication.

"Stifling the network of drugs and tackling substance abuse in the region is one of the top priorities of the police." SSP Hussain further says, "Terrorism and drugs work hand-in-glove. The youth who fall prey to drugs is the one that gives in to violence, terrorism and radicalism."

Drug abuse
Drug users fill their syringes with a mix of brown sugar and Fortwin (addictive drug) before injecting themselves at a roadside in the northeastern Indian city of Siliguri June 26, 2008.Reuters File

"This is serious, drug menace needs to be curbed," wrote a social media user while many followed suit in applauding the local police for its successful operation. Amidst the congratulatory notes, there were concerns galore too. "Some external forces deliberately trying to make Kashmiri youth mad and push them to the brink of disaster," warned another user.