The menace of drug addiction
International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is observed on 26th June every year. The United Nations General Assembly decided to designate June 26 as International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on December 1987 and this global observance aims to raise awareness and is also marked as an expression of its determination to strengthen action as well as cooperation for a better tomorrow.
“Better Knowledge for Better Care” is the theme for the 2020 ‘International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking’ as the aim is to highlight the need to improve the understanding related to the world drug problem and how better knowledge will encourage much more international cooperation and countering its impact on health, governance and society.
Drug addiction refers to the condition of being addicted to a particular drug, particularly narcotic drugs. These are generally illegal drugs that affect the mood and behaviour of a person and it is a tragedy that millions of youths across the globe fall victims to the habit of taking drugs every year. In India, according to a survey by the ministry of social justice and empowerment, the country has more than 70 million drug addicts. India records 10 suicides daily because of drugs related mental health issues.
A lot of us do not understand why people get addicted to drugs and subsequently misunderstand the phenomenon blaming it on an individual. Though there is no scientific evidence on how exactly drugs work on brain, but there are many treatments that help people counteract the disruptive effects of addiction and regain complete control over life. There is an uncontrollable desire to consume drugs, as a result of which addicted people engage in compulsive behaviour to take drugs and find it impossible to control the intake which usually goes higher and higher in quantity.
Some addictive substances increase the physical and mental stamina to such an extent that the belief that anything can be accomplished by its use takes deep root in the mind. We find professionals and sportsperson performing well after drug intake but in the long run it is detrimental to their health and career. Also drug intake in medication form is taking an upswing in the society. These individuals take medicine to subside pain or discomfort and in the long term are unable to give away the habit.
The children deprived of parental love, care and a friendly ambience are usually exposed to evil like sexual abuse, mal handling, trauma, torture, forced labour etc and this increases the risk of drug abuse among them. They end up as habitual abusers and find it difficult to revert back once the drugs have set in a strong craving. Once a person becomes addicted to a substance or activity, he may begin to neglect other important areas of life such as family responsibilities, work, or personal hygiene etc. Many addicts cannot think about anything else but their next ‘fix’. They will do anything to feed their habit, even if that means hurting family or friends; some will even turn to criminal activity if it means allowing them to continue with their habit.
Addiction can have a devastating effect on the lives of those who suffer from it, as well as their family and friends. Seeing a loved one suffering from addiction issues can be heartbreaking especially when, in most cases, only little can be done.
Many addicts will refuse help and deny they even have a problem. Many will hide their addiction for as long as possible so that they are not forced to get help; many others will be scared to seek help for fear that they will be unsuccessful. Living with an addict is incredibly difficult. The very nature of addiction means that those affected will lie and cheat to get what they want. They may also make promises to their loved ones that they have no intention of keeping.
Drug Addiction and criminal behavior very often go hand in hand. Not only is the possession and/or use of certain substances illegal, but drugs are expensive. When active drug use gets in the way of holding down a job, and the addicted person has burned all his bridges with stable friends and family, often his only recourse to get more of his drug of choice is to engage in criminal activity. They commit crimes to pay for their drugs and this inflicts damages on the society. Sometimes these addicts are forced to commit crime to acquire drugs. While facing shortage of money these people turn to illegal activities like smuggling, theft, murder, prostitution etc. It is estimated that drug addicts commit over 50 million crimes per year. Therefore the necessity of developing preventive strategies is highly recommended.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is the nodal agency for drug demand reduction that coordinates and monitors all aspects of drug abuse prevention which include assessment of the extent of the problem, preventive action, treatment and rehabilitation of addicts. It has the responsibility of creating awareness, educating people about the ill effects of drug abuse, its identification and rehabilitation. It supports activities of non-governmental organisations, working in the areas of prevention of addiction and rehabilitation of addicts and also funds Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), etc Presently, about 350 to 400 Integrated Rehabilitation Centres for Addicts (IRCAs) are functioning with the support of the Ministry. National Centre for Drug Abuse Prevention has been set up for capacity building and training of NGOs running De-addiction centres.