Opinion on Drug Abuse writes Syed Mustafa Ahmad.

Issue 18 January, 2021 Issue .

Drug abuse is a patterned use of a drug in which the users consume the substance in amounts or with methods which are harmful to themselves or others. Drug abuse corrodes the foundations of society and has the potential to lead to child abuse as well as sexual and domestic violence.      The problem is global and India is no exception to it. In our country, drug dependence is a major social issue in parts of Maharashtra, North East, Karnataka, Goa and Punjab. The fact that India is in close proximity to the Golden Crescent (Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan) as well as the Golden Triangle ( Myanmar, Laos and Thailand) makes it vulnerable to drug trafficking. It means that there is no hardship in finding the harmful drugs. They are available at arm’s length.      What started off as casual use among a miniscule population of high income group youth in the metropolitan cities, the drug abuse has permeated all sections of the society. Cannabis, heroin, and Indian_ produced pharmaceutical drugs are the most frequently abused drugs in India. Alcohol and tobacco are the most prevalent addictive substances used across India. The pharmaceutical products containing narcotic drugs are also being increasingly being abused. The codeine_based cough syrups continue to be diverted from the domestic market for abuse.      To highlight the menace, the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is observed annually on June 26. The decision to mark the Day was taken on December 7, 1987 through a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in order to strengthen global action and cooperation to achieve its aim of making the international society free of drug abuse. The year 2019 theme of the Day was ‘ Health for justice, Justice for Health’ which emphasized that justice and health are two sides of the same coin, when it comes to addressing the problems associated drugs.      One of the major reasons for drug abuse is its presence at the nook and corner of the country. Sometimes, it is romanticized in films and it becomes a thrilling and seductive affair for youngsters , who can be misguided easily because of their relative lack of experience in life. The other cause for this the lack of counseling. Our youngsters are left to fight with the changes happening in them and the changes taking place around them. They are not in a position to emerge out of the trauma which the newest things bring with them. Here the need of counsellors is of utmost importance. But we lack it completely. We are lacking the main stream of doctors. The presence of counsellors, say in a city or a village, is a distant dream. Moreover, the unyielding system of education is another cause for this. Thousands of students commit suicide due to this rigid system of education. No knowledge for the practical life is imparted in the institutions. The dreams of the students fall like a pack of cards and they take to drugs, in order to avoid the haunting present and the black future. What is the motive of education? The object of education is to produce the human beings, who can settle in a society, whatever the situations be. There is a big chasm between what is taught in the classrooms and what is going on in the society. This difference makes them incompatible and they find solace in the harmful drugs. Love affair is another cause. Recently, The Times of India came up with a report that made it clear that the cause of deaths and drug addiction is caused by the love affairs in most of the states of India. Romanticism at the earliest age and the taboos attached with it, forces a youth to take to drug addiction. The media also are forefront. The glorification of the drug addiction in the movies or in other dramas, create a destructive mark on the plastic minds of the students in general and the youth in particular. They get excited and try to make imitate this at their homes and pave way for the destruction of the society. Peer pressure is another cause. Like in the movie “3 Idiots” the main theme is that a student should be allowed to live his or her life. He or she should not be forced to act according to a particular trend of the society. All the students should be patently listened. Their grievances and views should be respected and the ways should be found to tackle them. But they are being rebuked and they feel isolated. It is this isolation that takes harmful form in the future and make the brilliant minds vulnerable to the menace of drug addiction.      The impacts of the drug addiction are manifold. The worst impact of drug abuse is on the brain, which consequentially affects every other aspect of life of the  person addicted to drugs. Drugs are primarily chemicals that affect the communication system of the human brain. They disturb the ways in which nerve cells send, process and receive information. Drugs such as heroin and marijuana are structured in the Same way as chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are produced naturally by the human brain. As a result of this similarity, the drugs can fool the receptors of human brain and activate the nerve cells in such a way that they send some abnormal messages. In case of drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine, the nerve cells get activated and they release extraordinarily large volumes of neurotransmitters. This disrupts the normal functioning of the human brain and can prove very disastrous at sometimes. The another devastating affect of drug addiction is on the generation. A lot of person’s die due to this menace. They not only destroy themselves but also their family members in particular and the relatives and the neighbors in general, for a long time. Apart from this, a lot of money is lost in drug addiction. To ease their nerves, the drug addicts become thieves and are burden on the society with the passage of time. It brings misery and gloom in the lives of the people of any country. The dreams of a bright future are shattered and it gives rise to other diseases and with this, slowly and steadily, the whole society is engulfed and the escape is totally blocked. We are facing the agony of the drug addiction. Our alleys, streets and roads are preoccupied by the drug addicts. They are own brothers and sisters, if I talk about the youth. They need our guidance. They are the part and parcel of our society. We are the organs of a single body. We can’t be so mean in allowing anyone to die in this fashion.      To curb this menace, prevention is one of the ways. In fact , it is one affliction that can be easily prevented according to medical experts and practitioners. Prevention programmes involving families, schools and the immediate communities are important in this regard. Media also should come forward in eradicating this menace, rather than romanticizing it. Movies should be based on the harmful effects of the drug addiction. From the beginning, the students should be taught to abhor these things. Adult education should be promoted so that our elders leave this harmful way. The best method to tackle this issue is to destroy the crops where the drugs are grown at the earliest. There should be strict punishment for those who are culprits. The suppliers of the drugs should be hanged in an open. They are the butchers. They should be sending to gallows. The Government should take initiatives to stop this menace. They can do a lot but they are not doing anything. They, in cooperation with the common people, can eradicate this menace from the society. The last but not the least thing is that cancel the license of the chemists, drug manufacturers, associations, etc.,. at the earliest. Ban the sale of medicines that can have the potential of being used as drugs. Lip service won’t do any miracles. Collective approach is the need of the hour. Parents and religious leaders have a lot to offer. We earnestly wait for it.