Drug abuse is known to be widespread among youth in India’s Kashmir state. The problem of drug abuse in Kashmir was highlighted by a United Nations International Drug Control Programme survey in 2008, revealing almost 70,000 drug addicts in Kashmir with 4,000 of them being women. The survey also revealed that 65-70% of college students were involved with drugs, with a large proportion that are female. 70% of the addicts are aged 18-35. In 2008, there were an estimated 200,000 opiate addicts in the Indian state of Kashmir.
Young women, especially college girls are increasingly familiar with substance abuse. These Kashmir women most often use toluene, which is comparable to ‘sniffing glue.’ Toluene is found in paints, petrol, varnishes, lacquers, paint thinners, adhesives, glues, rubber cement, and shoe polish. These substances are easier to get, but some of the women move on to opiates or other drugs. According to one doctor, drug addiction among Kashmir girls are often in response to stress, peer pressure, family disputes, failure in life, examination stress, love affairs, and psychiatric disorders.
According to IPS News, women are rarely admitted to treatment centers in Kashmir. Many treatment centers simply do not accept women. They will consult with these women, but they are left to their own devices. Social stigma also keeps women from ever visiting a treatment center.