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Married women more vulnerable to drug abuse: study

ISLAMABAD: Married women are more under stress and vulnerable to drug abuse in Pakistan, a study conducted by the Ministry of Narcotics Control in five big cities revealed.

The study titled “Substance Abuse amongst Women in Pakistan Relationship with Domestic Violence” conducted in five major cities includes Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Karachi and Quetta revealed that half of the drug addicted women are married (47.7 percent), 31.1 percent are single or unmarried, 21.1 percent are divorced, 11 percent widowed, and 8.3 percent separated from their spouses. According to the study majority of women said they took drugs due to stress including emotional and physical pain, domestic violence, revenge, or being forced by the husband.

The study says 47.7 percent women lived in joint families, 42 percent lived in nuclear families and 8.2 percent are living on their own either in hostels or sharing an apartment with someone.

According to the study 15 percent women in the survey had masters or university level education and 32.2 percent had college education. Most of the women or respondents were in the younger age of less than 40 years indicating that younger women were more vulnerable in term of substance or drug abuse.

Around 40 percent of the women or respondent were housewives, 25 percent were employed, while 16 percent were students. A noticeable 15 percent were in the other category which included those who were engaged in temporary job meaning that whenever required they engaged in some kind of an income generating activity.

As many as 73 percent of women said that they used drugs at home or some other private home like friend’s place, with 11 percent in hostels and less than five percent on campuses and a small percentages in cars, work or public places. Around 57 percent women were taking drugs when mostly alone or by themselves, 20 percent were doing it amongst friends and 12 percent in groups comprising other addicts taking a similar drug as the respondent. Clubbing or private parties were mentioned by less than 10 percent.

The study further revealed that the most common drug of choice of 47 percent women are charas, hashish which are all various names for the same substance. Alcohol (19 percent), heroin (13 percent) and opium (11 percent) are other substances cited by women as their preferred drug of choice. Cocaine, sedatives, thinners and other opiates are also mentioned by a small percentage of respondents but were less than 3 percent.

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