The misuse of addictive substances is increasing in the entire valley at an alarming pace. In November 2022, the state-level narcotic coordination committee meeting chaired by the Chief Sectary revealed that at least six lakh residents were affected by drug-related issues in Jammu and Kashmir. On average, INR 88,000 are spent by a drug abuser in the Valley yearly, increasing Kashmir’s crime rate. According to the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences-Kashmir, heroin was the most common opioid among 84.33% of the respondents surveyed in 2019-2020. It was also the most common opioid among Injection Drug Users (IDUs). According to the survey report, treatment and specialist interventions were in short supply. The Drug de-addiction centres have been flooded in recent years. Most of the patients that are admitted in these centres are heroin addicts.
An interview conducted by Behtar Kasheer, a personal blogger on Facebook revealed how two boys got addicted to drugs and their post addiction repercussions. These boys unfolded the reasons of inclination towards drugs among younger generation of the Kashmiri society and the number of complications a drug addict faces financially and mentally. It is the circle of friends who are addicted to drugs and have a tendency to attract a non-addict and that is how it starts, they stated. Among many other reasons as expressed by these victims of drug abuse, one that caught the most attention is the family dispute that exposes a young boy to anxiety and depression and to overcome the same they find a good friend in drugs. There are many reasons as to why people are becoming slaves of these life threatening substances, but the question is that how can our society overcome this dark truth.
Although it seems like the war against the drug abuse is unending, yet there are many possible ways to lure this disease out of our society if only timely actions could be taken and even before that a change in perspective is needed where a drug addict is seen as a morally downgraded and an untouchable human. Rather, an addict must be seen as a sick person who needs treatment and prayers.
This article aims to present an opinion survey about how a fitness club/gym namely The Transformers – Health and Fitness Factory situated in the heart of the town of Pattan is helping the youth and the elderly alike in developing health consciousness, understanding the role of physical as well as mental well-being and above all involving the drug addicts in physical exercises such as fitness activities, bodybuilding and cycling to distract them and to reduce their tendency of illicit drug use. The town of Pattan is located in Kashmir’s Baramulla district, neighbouring Bandipora, Budgam and other districts and is one of the historical capitals of Kashmir. The distance between this small town and Srinagar is around 27 km and is situated on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway NH44.
The Transformers – Health and Fitness Factory is established in the center of Pattan. The fitness club is well equipped with the state of the art equipment and is the only club in the town and other adjacent areas which is open alike to both men and women without any time restrictions thus breaking the taboo. The gym was established in 2017 by an MBA graduate and an entrepreneur Syed Shoaib Kubrawi and ever since its inception till date the changes in the mindset from the medieval to the modern in terms of health consciousness and hygiene are apparently visible. This fitness club has played a big and successful role in resuscitating many of those who once used to be the victims of drug abuse and instilling a new and healthy life in them. The counselling and the required free medical consultations provided by the owner has helped many addicts to find their way home again, as expressed by few victims who were the members of the facility. Moreover, they also revealed that such clients were under the personal supervision of the trainer so as to make sure that they are relatively more health conscious and that their tendency towards the illicit drug abuse is aptly subdued.
Apart from this, a group of 20 non-addicts were interviewed in The Transformers – Health and Fitness Factory, Pattan Baramulla and they revealed that people initiate developing health consciousness and healthy habits by working out everyday at gym, by playing sports and other aerobic activities which act as a thick wall between them and the drug abuse. They also revealed that this fitness club has helped them to work on their personality development and to build self-confidence. The opinion survey concludes that The Transformers – Health and Fitness Factory has proven to be a prospective fitness club/ rehab for the people of Pattan town and other adjoining areas and acts as a divide between youth and drugs.
Author: Aadil Rashid
PhD Scholar – Periyar University