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Pakistan: Tribesmen haunted by cheap alcoholic drink 'Drone'

News Agencies | Updated on: 13 July 2021, 1:37 IST
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Pakistan's tribal districts are faced with a life-threatening problem posed by "Drone", an alcoholic drink, which is ruining the lives of youngsters in the erstwhile tribal regions.

The Express Tribune reported that the moonshiners and youth in the remote Tirah Valley of Khyber tribal district of Pakistan's province can easily concoct "Drone" due to the availability of its ingredients at cheap prices.

"The ingredients of this alcoholic drink are easily available over-the-counter drugs, syrups and cold drinks," a resident told the publication.

A Tirah-based doctor confirmed that the concoction originated in Tirah and proliferated quickly to the settled districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

"It has been given this funny name because it instantly makes you high and you start feeling light," the doctor said, reported Dawn.

The communities hit hardest by the drug epidemic are those already devastated by the war on terror. Tens of thousands of tribal people - displaced by years of military operations against terrorists - have returned to their homes. However, they are faced with devastating economic conditions and a valley with scant resources.

"Several kinds of sleeping tablets are dissolved in a popular soft-drink along with two types of sedative cough syrups with easily available cheap drugs to make this drink, which is sold for a few hundred rupees," the doctor said.

However, the explosive flooding of the drink prompted hand-wringing among members of the local Aman Committee who had to announce a ban on certain cough syrups to rein in the rampancy of the drug.

"Any shopkeeper found selling these cough syrups will be penalised with a fine - and a warning." The dramatic flood of drugs has also brewed concerns among local elders who have been scrambling for measures to keep tabs on the selling and purchasing of drugs but all in vain.

As per Dawn, local doctors believe the leading cause of the immediate spread of the drug is unemployment.

"Youngsters are jobless. Previously, growing cannabis was a profitable business. But for the past couples of years, security forces have banned the transportation of fertilisers which were used in the production of IEDs and explosives by terrorists."

"So unemployment, frustration and such social problems are pushing the young people toward the drugs," he explained. The spotty law enforcement and local authorities have failed to curtail and understand the situation which is quickly hurtling out of control.

In this socio-cultural vacuum and uprooted fabric of the community, drug dealers are luring the young desperate minds to cash in on the situation, said the local elders, demanding action from the district authorities.


First published: 7 July 2021, 17:49 IST