Karim Khan Afridi Welfare Foundation launches Lahore chapter

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DNA

LAHORE: The Karim Khan Afridi Welfare Foundation, working on drug awareness and prevention among young people in Pakistan, launched today at a local hotel, the Lahore Chapter of the KKAWF with the aim of bringing a stronger focus on implementing drug use awareness and prevention education programmes among the young population of this vibrant city which is home to over 8 million youth under age 30. The Lahore chapter of KKAWF will be lead by Ambassador Mansoor Ahmed Khan who has served previously as head of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime-UNODC headquarters in Vienna. His extensive experience in the field and currently as Director of the Beaconhouse National University (BNU) will be instrumental in engaging the youth of Lahore, particularly students from various educational institutions, in KKAWF activities.            .

Speaking on the occasion, Cristina Afridi, Chairperson KKAWF said that Drugs, as part of organised crime are recognised now as a national security threat in Pakistan, including by the Anti-Narcotics Force-ANF. She highlighted that despite worldwide recognition of the drug problem, drug use persists and is mounting to historic levels – 296 million drug users globally in 2021, which she said is an unprecedented 23% increase in just one decade, and synthetic drugs like crystal meth are making the task harder to address. She said that Pakistan, is no exception and is the worst affected country throughout South Asia and is home to the largest market for heroin consumption. She further stated that in (2015) 8.9 million people in the country used drugs, which is almost same as the young population under age 30 of Lahore! This is of grave concern.

Other speakers at the event highlighted that Prevention and early intervention strategies can reduce the related crime and violence and the massive costs to our society that drug use brings. For every dollar invested in Prevention ten dollars can be saved in future costs. The importance of de-glamourizing the use of drugs portrayed by the entertainment industry and the so-called influencers is needed as this flawed messaging lures the curious youth towards drug use initially.

The launch event was attended by Nasir Jaffer, Vice Chairman KKAWF and Chairman Jaffer Brothers Group,  Mrs. Nasreen Kasuri, Chairperson  Beaconhouse Group, Mrs Abida Hussain, senior government representatives, parliamentarians, civil society, business community, media, educational institutions, youth to collaborate with KKAWF to build a brighter future.

After successful results in Islamabad/Rawalpindi and KP, KKAWF has launched its activities in Lahore for the first time in response to keep its youth protected from the alarming rise in drug use, given that 63% of the population – an estimated 150 million youth are under age 30 in the country.

KKAWF, a civil society organization set up in 2015 by Cristina von Sperling Afridi and

Ambassador Tariq Afridi in memory of their late son Karim, is working for spreading Prevention awareness regarding drug abuse amongst the youth in Pakistan. The key objective of KKAWF is to engage with youth to empower them to realise their full potential of a healthy & productive life. KKAWF implements its programmes through its five pillars of drug awareness, environment, sports, arts & culture & developing civic sense.