It’s called ice on the street and it’s our next epidemic
Saif is a third-year student in Peshawar. He looks weak and has dark circles under his eyes. He stutters when he talks. At times he forgets what he is saying. He’s addicted to ice. And when he started taking it, he didn’t even know what it was called.
“When I tried to study, I’d feel sleepy,” he says, referring to the time he tried to prep for exams. “Then a friend of mine recommended I try this.” Before he knew it, he was hooked.
Ice, as it is called on the street, is crystal meth of methamphetamines in the form of crystals. Methamphetamines are a stimulant drug that comes as a white, bitter powder or pill. Crystal meth looks like glass. It is also called speed.
It has become popular on campuses across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in a little over two years.
Ice can be swallowed, snorted, smoked or injected. It is most commonly smoked in a glass ice pipe or injected.
Dr Khalid Mufti, a psychiatrist in Peshawar, told SAMAA Digital that ice doubles your energy levels and you can keep awake on it for 24 to 48 hours. But you crash afterward and it wrecks your system. Ice addicts are prone to rage and self-harm and they can turn violent on others. They also tend to mix it up with other illegal drugs.
“When this surfaced in Peshawar about two to two and a half years earlier, it was just with elite kids because it was expensive,” he says. “It used to be Rs8,000 or Rs9,000 a gram.”
According to Cantt SSP Waseem Riaz, a lot of ice is smuggled to Pakistan from Afghanistan and Iran. Its price came down when dealers started to mix it with other chemicals to produce more. Police have found that people addicted to ice turn to crime when they don’t have money to buy it.
It has started to move off campus and into homes as, according to Dr Mufti, men using it put their wives at risk of addiction.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police have given the provincial government some suggestions to prevent the use of ice but not much progress has been made. Sultan Muhammad Khan, the law minister, has said that the government is taking serious steps and working on legislation to stop the use of ice.