Smoking up their future?
By Shahnawaz Khan
LAHORE: Smoking hashish (charas) has become popular among youngsters, especially girls, as it is easily available and has become a symbol of modernity. Earlier, primarily boys were smoking hashish but now girls are also using it frequently.
Karachi-based Shiza, 21, who is visiting the city in connection with a fashion show, told Daily Times that she had been smoking hashish for more than a year. She said that a friend of her who returned from abroad smoked hashish. She picked up the habit from her friend.
“When I first tried it, my mouth dried up and I hated it. Now I enjoy smoking it at least thrice a week,” Shiza added.
Beena, 20, from Lahore, said acquiring hashish was not difficult as it was just a “phone call away”. “We just ring up the vendors who deliver it near our homes.” She said that girls were normally dependent on boys to get hashish but now some of them have developed their own contacts.
She said that if the authorities were serious about the health of Pakistani youth, they should provide security to them rather than trying to check their drinking and smoking habits. She opined that smoking hashish in a small quantity should be legalised as it would minimise the curiosity and this would eventually minimise its urge.
A number of youngsters who use the drug feel it has no adverse impact on health.
Amir, who smokes hashish regularly, said that he preferred it to alcohol or any other drug.
“A simple cigarette is dangerous for health but if a person has a healthy diet then smoking hashish does not affect his health,” he said.
Another young man, who is an artist and did not want not to be named, said that he could concentrate better after smoking a couple of hashish filled cigarettes.
He said that he used hashish as a ‘medicine’. “I don’t go around the city teasing women, neither do I indulge in brawls or other stupid macho stuff,” he said. A psychiatrist from Adil Hospital in Defence said that smoking drugs in cigarettes had been very common in the West but now this had penetrated our society as well.
He said that teenagers claiming that they were able to concentrate better after smoking hashish were mistaken. He said that habitual smokers of hashish became moody and developed a volition syndrome, which made them less certain about their life. He added that a continuous use caused a personality change.
The psychiatrist said that youngsters who claimed to become more ‘creative’ after taking hashish were giving lame excuses for their addiction.
He said that normal individual could definitely perform better than an addict.
Another doctor said that youngsters from all backgrounds were getting addicted to hashish, which was an unhealthy sign. A police officer, requesting anonymity, told Daily Times the police was trying to track down the people who sold hashish.
He said that the drug was being smuggled from the Northern Areas (NAs) and was available throughout the country. He said that hundreds of peddlers were involved in selling hashish in Lahore. Hashish is smuggled to Lahore in trucks and other vehicles and in the baggage of ‘passengers’ travelling from NWFP to Lahore by GT Road or Motorway.
Types and rates of hashish: Regular smokers say that 25 grammes of hashish is enough to fill 40 cigarettes (two packs of 20 cigarettes)
Pela Garda costs Rs 1,800 per kilogramme in Tribal Areas or NAs; Rs 3,500 per kg in Lahore while consumers buy it in Rs 5,000 per kg (Rs 5 per gramme).
Seep Garda is available Rs 1,500 per kg in NAs, Rs 3,000 per kg in Lahore and consumers get it Rs 4,500 per kg.
Shamama is sold Rs 2,200 to Rs 2,500 per kg in tribal areas, Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 per kg in Lahore and consumers purchase it Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 per kg.