Srinagar: Heroin is sold at Rs 2,000 per gram, sometimes even less, the doctor said. “Last year, one Shakeel Ahmed introduced me to heroin for free. Some friends were already hooked and so I too tried. It became a habit and I began stealing money at home. I met drug peddlers all over Srinagar and heroin was available freely,” said a 24-year-old, who was undergoing treatment at the de-addiction centre.
Though he was treated early this year, he relapsed and now, with heroin unavailable since August 5, he is unable to cope. “But I want to give it up for good,” he says.
A doctor says that addicts in the Valley run into thousands, based on the treatment he’s done over the years. “It keeps growing. Now, we have eight to 10-year-olds coming in,” says Dr Arshad Hussain, the Head of Department of the Department of Psychiatry and de-addiction at SHMS.
“Heroin addiction is on the rise in Kashmir at a very alarming rate,” he added. Of the thousands admitted in the ward, nearly 85 per cent used heroin.
Hospital authorities said about 800 men across the Valley had come in last year, but numbers were climbing this year. “A few hundred have already visited us this year,” said an official. In 2016-17, patients numbered around 550 which increased to about 730 in 2017-18.