Monday, December 4, 2023

Drugs menace

There are numerous reports that drug addiction is on the rise in Nagaland. It is no more an urban phenomenon and has spread alarmingly to the rural areas also. Studies have shown that some of the rural areas are worst hit. It cannot be denied that it is a severe problem that needs to be addressed at the governmental and as well as societal level with a missionary spirit. Besides psychological factors, lack of awareness about drugs changing the working of the brain, ultimately losing self-control and damaging behaviours have also contributed to the spread of drug menace. That drug addiction is not just about cocaine, heroin but also about nicotine, opioid pain killers, alcohol and other substances such themes are rarely talked about. We need to involve all departments and the general public, which can go a long way in fighting against the abuse responsible for the increase in crimes, moral degradation and death of young adults. Setting up drug de-addiction centre in various parts of the state is a good idea. But for removing the stigmas surrounding the problem, there is a need for earning social acceptability for these centres by launching a sustained awareness campaign and winning mass support for the initiative by involving religious bodies and community. It is no secret that there are havens for drug paddlers in some parts of Dimapur or for that matter in every towns and villages. It is high time for the administration to initiate an all-out crackdown against the culprits. While it’s true that sometimes too much of talk about any issue has the danger of misleading us, but here the issue at hand is such that even if the alarm is little extra, it will only benefit us as a society. However, we need to keep in mind that we shouldn’t be self flagellating. We shouldn’t demean ourselves, and start looking at our youth as criminally disposed. If we ensure that we approach this problem with wisdom and rationality we would attain the desired objective without getting frustrated, and without making wrong conclusions. The first point that needs to be underlined is that our society is like any other human society. We have good elements and bad elements in us. We come forward as a society, when there are challenges. But at the same time we break under the pressure of the outward conditions and start yielding to wrong activities. Again, the trends globally have an impact on us, and we also draw from good practices around the globe. So there is nothing that can stop us from being a good society, and there are always dangers that lurk behind. The second point to be made is to approach the problem methodically. If there is substance abuse it must have some concrete reasons. Without making moral judgments can we expose those reasons, and work on addressing the problem accordingly. For example, can we hold responsible the relevant departments on how things like heroine are available in our society? Can we ask the political parties to target poverty in our society so that a good life is ensured to the people across all economic segments? And can we finally ask the health department, and others, to prepare and interpret data in a way that it gives the actual picture and doesn’t mislead? 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 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 walk away from 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. And never forget the crucial role of parents. It is here that we need to gear up.