2pc of students regularly using drugs, QAU survey finds

ISLAMABAD: Contrary to the claims of the minister of state for interior about excessive drug use by students in the capital, a new survey has found that no more than 2pc of students in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar are regular drug users.

Quaid-i-Azam University’s Department of Sociology released the findings of a survey conducted in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission at a seminar, a statement said, in order to dispel notions of exaggerated figures on drug use in education institutions in Pakistani cities.

The seminar was based on data collected from public and private educational institutions for four ajor cities under the HEC Thematic Grants Project.

The principal investigator, Dr Imran Sabir, said that the survey found that “not more than 2pc of students are regular drug users in educational institutions”.

Dr Sabir said that figures based on a ‘secret’ report by an NGO reported by the media had caused confusion and hype about unusually high rates of drug abuse in education institutions.

Based on the same NGO report, State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi recently claimed that 75pc of female students and 45pc of male students in the capital are addicted to drugs, including crystal meth, also known as ice.

QAU’s new survey has a sample size of 4,997 students from schools, colleges and universities from Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar. It found that 21pc of surveyed students from public and private institutions do not consider drug abuse risky behaviour, but most students – 79pc – believed that drugs can have negative consequences on health and social aspects of life such as family, education and employment.

Dr Sabir said peer pressure plays a crucial role in adopting on-campus drug use.

Mr Afridi, who was invited to the seminar as the chief guest, praised the QAU Department of Sociology for organising the event to highlight a realistic picture of drug use in educational institutions.

Dean of Social Sciences Dr Wiqar Ali Shah praised the role of the youth in restraining drug use in educational institutions.

QAU Vice Chancellor Dr Mohammad Ali also spoke at the event about the dangers of drug use, saying that drug abuse is linked to numerous social problems including health issues, terrorism, suicide and damage to the fabric of society.

He told the youth to be vigilant and report incidents in which they come across any activity related to drug use, and said the youth must learn to say no if they are offered drugs.

Journalist Mohammad Amir Ghauri also spoke at the seminar about how to curtail drug use, adding that the youth is the future of the nation and may act as a neighbourhood watch force.