Bureaucratic ineptitude has manifested itself in many forms but its impact has been most pronounced on the health care system in Kashmir. It has been assumed that drug addiction would, just as the COVID-19, be curbed with bureaucratic diktats; among its victims are individuals who suffer from drug addiction.
The closure of drug de-addiction centres in Kashmir has resulted in these individuals suffering quietly and in the absence of a strong social support system. It will still take us a long time to understand the impact of the bureaucratic response to the public health emergency. In the meanwhile, we must realise that addiction is integral to humans and the stigmatisation of those suffering from drug addiction must be tackled with responsibility by the media, and in the society by activists and doctors playing a leading role.
While the police have cracked its whip on drug peddlers, it is curious if it is effectively done. In the run up to August 2019, several dozen dealers of cannabis were arrested, the press releases barely mentioned arrests of heroin dealers. Today, the state narrative has linked drugs with the militancy and rebranded it as “Narco-terror”. The will of the state in executing extraordinary crackdowns is well established. Why then does it fail to nip the drug menace in the bud is a question we must all ask.