OPINION: Preventing drug abuse challenges and solutions
Author(s): Harpreet SandhuThe Author. The future of our society is dependent on the quality and potential of youth towards their respective work and role in our country. Therefore, one cannot over-emphasise the need for preventing the...
The future of our society is dependent on the quality and potential of youth towards their respective work and role in our country. Therefore, one cannot over-emphasise the need for preventing the drug abuse. Being a practicing criminal lawyer, having dealt with several cases related to drugs in courts, I feel that the drug abuse usually starts in the early teens, reaching a peak around twenties and finally it becomes routine habit and it is unfortunate to witness the ongoing drug abuse in shape of a social menace. During adolescence it is either ‘peers as role models’ or tendency to ‘take risk by breaking established rules and values’ that draw them to this. Social influence plays a key role in making drug use attractive to youth. The first temptations for drug abuse may come in the form of pressure to ‘act grown up’ and have a good time by smoking cigarettes or consuming alcohol and later drugs.
It is rare that the first contact with illicit drugs happens on the initiative of the users. Drug peddlers generally befriend their victims before they offer drugs for the first time. Dealers recruit youngsters who, in a few years, become engaged in drug trafficking very effectively. Teens are lured by the easy money, wealth and the glamorous fast life of the drug kingpins escaping from the reality of school or college life, and the responsibility of their family as well as society at large. Although drug trafficking is controlled by adults outside educational institutions, the immediate source of drugs to most students is other students. Drug abuse frequently progresses in stages – from occasional to regular, then to multiple drug use, and ultimately to total dependency.
With each successive stage, it intensifies, becomes more varied and results in increasingly debilitating effect. Psychological dependence not only erodes educational performance but can also destroy ties to family. The child goes from taking drugs to feel good, to taking them to keep from feeling bad. Overtime drug use itself heightens the bad feelings and can leave the user suicidal. Behavioural disorder and parental disharmony are some of the common factors leading to drug abuse, besides overambitious adolescents having stressed adolescents having low academic aspiration and motivation or poor performance at school.
Pervasive drug use creates a climate in the schools and universities that is destructive to learning. It is closely tied to truancy and dropping out of school because regular use increases restlessness and demand for constant supply as a result of which skipping classes becomes a need and a habit. Also, drug use is intimately related to crime and misconduct, both at school and college levels. These may range from criminal acts like stealing from one’s own house to team attempts at robberies for want of money to maintain the constant supply of drugs.
In-fact, it is the drug suppliers who are also responsible for the drug-abuse. They meet the demand for drugs by developing new strains, producing reprocessed, purified drugs, and using underground laboratories to create more powerful forms of illegal drugs.
Consequently, the users are exposed to heightened or unknown levels of risk. The support of community is very essential is creating an anti-drug social environment. Society should be educated about the ill-effects of drug abuse through different social organisations, mass media, school health programmes and even through religious bodies. A consistent message that drug use is wrong, dangerous and intolerable should be widely propagated and reinforced through strong disciplinary measure. The enforcing agencies should drastically reduce availability of illicit drugs and smash the distribution network. Clinics may detoxify addicts and educational institutions guide their pupils how to get rid of this social evil.
Today drugs have the potential to threaten the life of a nations as a whole, what to talk about India alone Drugs and taking away our youth from socially useful and productive work, disrupting academic work, shattering families increasing crime overburdening social service agencies. Drug abuse may generate various types of crimes against person and property which may create problems of harco-terrorism, insurgency and subversion etc. posing further serious threats to the society. There has been an increase in the clandestine demands for heroin and concentrated cannabis in the form of hashish for abuse in some countries leading to development of illicit conversion of opium into heroin and manufacture of hashish from cannabis. Surveys conducted in some metropolitan cities and commercial centres indicate that opium addiction is more in rural areas while heroin and hashish addiction is more in congested metropolitan cities slums. It is understood that there are unlimited addicts in a country and recently witnessed in several incidents where under the influence of intoxicants and drugs youth has committed certain uncalled incidents creating a bad atmosphere within public, which has rather been projected to be false by the respective parents who have influence over the local administration. Today there is an urgent and stringent need to have a check particularly in the educational institutions, as drugs are being carried and consumed by the students/ youth, within the hostels of institutions. It is also unfortunate to witness the ongoing consumption of poppy husk, opium, synthetic drugs and smack by majority of college – university students. The cause of concern is the trend of smack which is increasing very fast amongst the younger generation in urban areas. The synthetic drugs available at chemist shops is also very harmful and the drug use has already intimately related to crime and misconduct, at all levels in big cities, as these range from criminal acts like stealing from one’s own house to team attempts at robberies for want of money to maintain the constant supply of drugs and regular purchase of liquor brands is virtually becoming routine, hence being engulfed into the habit of drugs and several commons being victimized at the hands of drug peddlers. As the future of every society is dependent on the quality and potential of its youth towards their respective work and role in the society, It has been totally ignored by our authorities for an enactment of any particular instant tool to curb this ongoing drug menace and have virtually failed to check on the enforcing agencies to drastically reduce availability of illicit drugs and prevent distribution network, clinics may detoxify large number of addicts and moreover they have never emphasized on the educational institutions need to guide their pupils how to get rid of this social evil which may ruin future of the upcoming youth.
The welfare agencies and the law enforcement machinery, need to play a serious role and sincere efforts, dedication and effectiveness of all concerned that menace of drug abuse could be reduced and problems tackled both at the legal and social levels. So, the best way to fight drugs is to begin preventive efforts right from the teenage in order to not allow the ‘bud’ take the shape of an ugly and dangerously spreading need.
*The author is practicing lawyer and former Additional Advocate General, Punjab.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author in this article are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of City Air News.)