UNODC launches drug prevention campaign in nine cities of Sindh

KARACHI: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in collaboration with Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control has launched drug prevention campaign in nine cities of Sindh province with aim to raise public awareness on drugs and their harmful effects on society.

The UNODC drug prevention campaign launching ceremony was held in Governor House, which was attended by Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ebad, Star Cricketer Shahid Khan Afridi, UNODC Representative Cesar Guedes, Secretary Narcotics Control Division, Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control Ghalib Bandesha and other dignitaries.

The UNODC in collaboration with Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control and supported by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affair(INL)-Pakistan of the US Department of State , is implementing a drug prevention campaign in nine critics located in Sindh province including Hyderabad, Larkana, Sukkur, Shikarpur, Badin, Mirpurkhas, Nawabshah, Jacobabad and Khairpur.

The overall aim of this five-month long campaign is to raise public awareness on drugs and their harmful effects on individuals, families and society at large with a special focus on youth in educational institution, teachers parents and religious leaders.

The campaign is based on the results of the “Drug use in Pakistan 2013 Survey”. According to the survey, it is estimated that six percent of the population in Pakistan, or 6.7 million people, aged between 15 and 64 had used drugs in the year in the year the survey was conducted. Of these, 4.25 million people are thought to be suffering from drug use disorders and drug dependence, reporting significant challenges controlling or reducing their use and experiencing negative personal consequences as a result of their drug use.

The province of Sindh had the second highest prevalence rate for cannabis use in the country. 4.3 percent used of the population cannabis, and an estimated 570,000 people in Sindh used opioids during previous years. Of these, 66 percent used prescription opioids (painkillers) and 34 percent used heroin, opium or both. Almost 100,000 during users in Sindh are estimated to be injecting drugs, primarily opiates. Prevalence estimates for the use of tranquilizers and sedatives in Sindh is comparable with that the Punjab while the use of amphetamine-type stimulant is not as high as in other provinces.

The campaign is being implemented in close cooperation with Narcotics Control Division, Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control, and Government of Sindh by making use of electronic and print media; installing billboards with drug prevention messages in local languages strategic locations in the target cities.

Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ebad said, “Today’s launching of the drug awareness campaign in Sindh should be the first step in the direction of an ongoing intervention in drug prevention awareness and associated social, psychological, economical and physical harms”.

He said ensured Government of Sindh’s full support to UNODC, INL Pakistan and other institutions in the implementing of the campaign as an effective model to be replicated in other parts of the country.

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