If you, or someone you know, consume drugs for leisure. If you or someone close to you, feel you have ‘control’ over how much, and when you consume? If you, or someone you know, are a parent and feel it’s “OKAY” for children to experiment. They do it in the west, and it’s FINE! If you or someone you know, has hosted parties for your children or teenage friends in your house where alcohol and drug consumption was allowed – you need to hear this.
A recent graph on the highest Cannabis consumption in cities around the world is circulating on Whatsapp and has us all round-eyed and surprised (really)?
Karachi scored second highest just lagging behind New York and one notch above New Delhi.
Karachi is not New York, or London, Toronto, or even Amsterdam. When cities like Karachi show an alarming rise in drug consumption, this usually means that the drug is not only consumed in high quantities in the upper classes, but also, in the lower, more impoverished, and marginalized communities.
Keeping aside the professed medicinal benefits of the product, (many are lobbying for it to be legalized in Western countries), let’s focus on Pakistan, and why WE should be worried about drugs in our backyard. Moreover, let’s address Heroin, (more lethal than Cannabis), and for whom, figures might not even be so updated, because, frankly, we’ve lost track!
In countries like Canada, where Cannabis is presumably legalized, Toronto features 10th. on the list of Cannabis consumption. But is that really a problem for the country? Toronto boasts a welfare system that defies logic, the city has a state-of-the-art transport system and show me ONE locality in Toronto that bears even a slight resemblance to Lyari, and I will be stumped!
Although the drug culture in Lyari (and other areas of Karachi) is being tackled at a grassroots level by philanthropists and activists, we need to view these drug consumption reports in their entirety. While it might be cool for youth in Amsterdam to consume Cannabis, it is NOT cool for youth in Karachi to do the same!
Karachi Under Seige
Our city is a victim of a myriad of problems.
Drugs are not just a social ‘thing’ we do, when we want to relax over the weekend with friends, it’s something we do to forget our problems and escape the reality of the big bad world. It filters from the weekend into the week, and very soon, it destroys families, relationships, households, and even, entire neighborhoods.
And now let me address the privileged youth, (and parents) whom I mentioned above.
Do you really think that your son or daughter, or friend will be able to keep that ‘habit’ he/she acquired as just a habit? Do you not realize that the youth in our city are dealing with issues that, if I start recounting them on my fingertips, I will need multiple pairs of hands to get through them? (Go ask any psychologist in the city, he/she will tell you the same).
From low grades, to pushy parents, to body shaming, low self esteem, peer pressure, pushy parents, religious expectations, having no friends to having too many friends? Do you think that making them dependent on a drug that can interfere chemically with ow their brain registers reality is really even a thing to justify? If you think drug culture only affects the impoverished, and underprivileged, and you’re safe from the fall out, think again!
Our children, or friends are victims of depression, mental health, suicide, and multiple other behavioral problems because … of multiple social issues that they face day in and day out – broken families, parental relationships, or the lack of them, and I’m not even going to enlist a whole lot of other issues cropping up in my mind. Go figure why you would endanger your child, or friend’s happiness or future by justifying drug use as harmless, or innocuous – no it’s not!
So next time you light up, and you think it’s okay because you’re rich, ‘they’ do it too – ‘they’ meaning those in Canada, America, and even Moscow. Just take a minute and think, what THEY have to lose, and what YOU have to lose.
You mirror the millions of youth that look up to you. And if this is how they see you enjoying a ‘moment’ at the concert, or an evening out, well, they will light up too – but they might not stop after the concert’s over – and you might not too!
How can we say no to Drugs?
Educate your children. watch and monitor their communities and friends. Make your home a safe haven. Suggest and create safe zones and modes of enjoyment that do not include groups of teenagers hanging out aimlessly at some ‘Chai Khana, or being vulnerable to drug peddlars.
Make it ‘uncool’ to host parties with drugs and alcohol especially for the under-aged. and as an adult, learn to set an example – be the Change, and teach your children to say NO.
Talk to other parents and KNOW what your child is doing in the evening, more importantly, talk to your child. Maybe the family dinner on a weekend at the dining table, with no wifi, isn’t such a bad idea after all.