OPINION

Conundrum of Drug Addiction                 

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By: Vivek Bhat

Putting all your worries in abeyance, watching stress from family problems, financial losses, failed affairs all flying in the air with smoke and filling your nostrils and nerves with intoxicants and feeling high like a heaven on earth. It feels good, doesn’t it? Afterwards killing a roadside pedestrian, while you are behind wheel stoned, ruining your whole career after being addicted to substance use, being dead of cardiac arrest or organ failure in your pleasant youth leaving your mother wail for you and your father carrying the heaviest bier, leaving an unfathomable melancholic void in the hearts of your family members or in that of family members of the one you have killed on roadside who fell prey to your ecstasy, killing your own friend after a brief avoidable spat. What about being caught with the possession of banned narcotic drugs and rot in jail under NDPS Act?

Life is to live not to squander it in rots after getting prone to drugs. Drug addiction is very serious problem nationwide and  same in the context of UT of Jammu and Kashmir. It is rising on alarming rate nationwide and also in J&K so is its supply chain. Fast moving world has changed the meaning of life  drastically where the success is measured through procurement  of materialistic things, expectations of people have risen to another level whether they are parents, children, life partners. Stress and discontentedness has become a new norm and with the weakening of family bonds, cultural links and ignorance  about spirituality people have started taking refuge into narcotics for finding their utopia.

There are some figures put forth by NCRB 2019 in connection with seizures of Narcotics and Psychoactive Drugs by enforcement agencies and Police. Ganja (342045 kg), Opium (4488 kg), Hashish (3572 kg), Heroin (3231 Kg) stand as major drug seizures and 57867 cases are registered and 74620 persons arrested which is increase of 17 % as compared to 2018.  It is evident to the fact that growing demand creates growing production and supply. Hence there is the growing demand of Illegal drugs which is hollowing our youth and eating up the future of nation like a termite that too at a rapid pace.

Jammu and Kashmir is not devoid of this menace because of its close proximity to Golden crescent which is known as heaven of narcotics drug production and supply and sharing border with state of Punjab which too is dubbed as breeding space for drug abuse. Also violence and unemployed and unorganized youth of the UT, being most vulnerable, are being exploited and rendered to drug use and addiction. As per GMC, Srinagar and Associated Hospitals, number of patients with substance use problem in the period 2016-2018 is 13952 most of them from age group 11-20 years. As per GMC, Jammu and Associated Hospitals, number of patients with substance use in the period 2014-2018 was 9152, most of them were adolescent. These are those who had sought remedy and there can be plethora of youth still using drugs and not seeking remedies yet.

Not going far, starting from home, ours being a community with almost zero crime records; KP community, I have learnt of some people dying of suspected drug overdose which is indeed a cause of concern. People indulging in crimes in interiors of district Jammu  after drug use throws light on how deep rooted this menace has managed to  reach and has taken the form of epidemic. Likewise In valley hardly passes a day without any news of drug seizure which obviously implicates its rising demand. In southern and northern parts of valley the situation is comparatively grave.

  • Response of Government.

In January last year Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Health and Medical Education department came up with Policy Document for Drug De-addiction for Jammu and Kashmir which is inter agency and inter departmental program involving various departments all predominantly focusing on reducing behavior of youth that leads to substance use. By nipping the problem in bud through  intervention beforehand. It envisages to ramp up drug rehabilitation infrastructure, Spreading information about this menace in schools, colleges and universities. In this connection new building of 100 beds of drug de-addiction centre was established in the Government Psychiatric Disease Hospital, Jammu. Government via Police and other enforcement agencies is playing its part to stop this epidemic but we too need to be stake-holders in the fight against drug abuse.

Youth need to be taught that there is no coolness attached to use of drugs. The euphoria one  may feel is so temporal because at the  end of the day one may end up with dependence syndrome, withdrawal state and some worst form of death. Drug use can only give one a temporary escape from the problem but it further aggravates it ultimately. One need to face the problem, endure it and defeat it. This is the only permanent way out. Early intervention by parent/guardians can play strong deterrence as tender age is the age of entry in maximum cases. Artists, writers, lyrists need to spread the word regarding this menace through their creations. Movies, OTT platform can play a leading role in that direction having very strong viewer base.

To those who have already fallen to addiction, there is always a way out. It just needs a determined will to reform; active help from government as well as private drug-rehabilitation centers is available at their disposal. With medical help and counseling they could be out of addiction completely.

Finally to those who are busy in making fortunes and castles over the graves of numerous youth, devastating uncountable families – it is a sin punishable in this world and the world hereafter. Fetters of law are not far and punishment under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985(NDPS Act) will be their ultimate future having rigorous sentence ranging from 01 year to 20 years. The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985,  is an Act of the Parliament of India prohibiting one from  producing, manufacturing possessing, selling, purchasing, transport, storage, and/or consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.

  • The writer works in Department of Posts, GOI, and can be reached at viv1bhat@gmail.com

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