Sunday, January 24, 2021

Drugs menace

Some social evils continue to prevail in the society since ages. One such evil is substance abuse. As drugs have been abused for hundreds of years all over the world, their effects have been felt for just as long. Since drugs have been used, there were always those who abused them, which led to full-blown addiction and the bevy of side effects that come with it. Substance use is broad in its definition, being inclusive of alcohol and other drugs. The illicit use of substance is badly consuming the modern day youth. Whilst moderate consumption of some can be a cultural or social norm (alcohol, for instance in Western culture), excess consumption or dependency can have a severe and detrimental impact on overall health, mental wellbeing and in many cases, the wellbeing of the entire societal set-up. Although seizures of opiates and heroin has increased substantially worldwide, there continues to be a global crisis in overcoming not only this menace but also another – the misuse of pharmaceuticals the world over, the non-medical use of opioids. It has now become a major concern of both law enforcing agencies and the public health organisations. Different medical opioids are misused in different regions, causing an immense loss to life. Opioids are the drugs that present the largest cause for concern due to the severe impact on the health of users. In India, a 2018-survey shows a dismal picture of drug abuse, both narcotics and the non-medical use of opioids. In this regard, the misuse and trafficking of painkiller Tramadol was found to have devastated many lives. Among the negative impacts of the drug use, mental health disorders, HIV infection, hepatitis B & C and premature deaths due to their overdose have now become a major concern in India. Coming to our State, the magnitude of addiction is so high that our future generation is in extreme jeopardy. There is no denying that many of our youth have fallen victim to drugs, tearing our social fabric apart. Nagaland scenario also presents a perturbing trend in the drug menace. Among the substances used by drug-users here are narcotics like cannabis, brown sugar, heroin and opioids like SP tablets, Anxit and Alprax. The drug users continue to find different ways of intoxicating themselves by using extraordinarily dangerous substances like fevicol, SR solution, thinner, shoe polish, paint varnish, and according to reports even dirty socks. Unfortunately, not all drug using cases here are reported. In fact some time back when people would talk about this problem we would brush it aside by saying that these statistics are not what they are presented as. We would also attribute it to things that would serve as easy excuses to wriggle out of any sense of responsibility towards our society. But now that addiction has become a major problem here, one can’t easily figure out what would happen to our society if it is not checked, and checked very soon. Now there are two different ways of responding to this crisis. One is to enter a blame game. A section of our society always tends to blame Government and unknown ‘agencies’ for this problem, and they never exhaust in criticizing Government on this. While it is true that the Government agencies must flung themselves into action in ways that it tightens the noose around the culprits, the civil society cannot wriggle out of its own responsibility. The other form of response is that while we impress upon the Government officials to be more serious about this problem, but at the same time we come forward ourselves and do our bit. It is time that we woke up and put our heads together to save our young generation from destroying itself. We can’t continue to put entire blame on the chaotic situation to the State. The time has also come for a fundamental change in our attitude about the pervasive and pernicious role drug abuse play in the society and a revolution in the way we deal with it. There is a dire need for joint mission and collaborative approach from the Government, civil society, educational institutions, organisations, rehabilitation centers, counselors, motivational speakers, mental health professionals and other stakeholders to curb this menace. The society at large needs to rise to the occasion and see that our youngster lives a normal and responsible life.