Say NO to Drugs

Recently, PM (India) Shri Narendra Modi, in his 3rd. ‘Mann ki baat’, (the radio address to the nation), took up the burning issue of drug addiction, especially among the youth. He addressed the youth straight, like a family elder, explaining the pros and cons of their harmful and even lethal pursuit, and sending out a word of caution.

Many recent exposes, especially the one in West Bengal, have revealed a close connection between the world of drugs and that of terrorism. Modi ji directly asked the addicts, “Have you ever asked yourself where the money you buy your drugs with goes?” The hint obviously points in the direction of the terrorist network. And then he urged them to reject the drugs, posing a challenge to them, “Have the courage to say no (to drugs) and reject drugs. Tell your friends the same.”

Very timely advice in a caring tone! Politics apart, and trivialization at the hands of adversaries, Modi ji has hit at a very grave crisis affecting the youth, their families, their lives, and ultimately the nation. Just ask someone who has/had a drug addict at home, you will invariably find him/her groping pathetically for an answer. From heart, each one would seem to support the call against drugs.

I am reminded of a friend’s son. He obtained the best possible education, and joined an Insurance company as Asstt.Administrative Officer. Got married and had kids. But on the job, he picked liquor and drugs as part of socializing. Soon he turned addictive and not before long, he started deteriorating pretty fast, physically as well as mentally. His sympathetic, benevolent colleagues cooperated with him in office work and somehow he was able to pull on with the job. But as if he had vowed to destroy himself. His addiction continued unabated, and finally, he passed away, leaving his family behind to suffer endlessly.

There are too many such tragic tales strewn all around us, and the villain, the drug is having a great time gnawing at the most precious, potential section of society, the youth. The curse has not spared even a good number of celebrities, especially in Bollywood and Hollywood. Too many celebrity offsprings too joined the band as a hip thing, for the sake of masti (fun) and paid dearly for that.

Drug addiction, on the surface, looks a mere personal habit. But it has deeper impact and consequences. People usually start it in a casual manner, in company of friends for a little thrill and adventure, but very soon, it becomes a habit, and then addiction. Addictions are too hard to get rid of. They invariably take a huge toll on their victim. However, the curse cannot be left at that. Something has to be done to stop it, eliminate it, to save the youth from its deadly clutches.

One thing is certain, that the war against drugs is not going to be an easy one. It is not just a wayward boy/girl buying a dose of hashish or marijuana and having some moments of ethereal joy. There are many players involved in it at various levels to make it the catastrophe it has become. Apart from the consumer, there are peddlers, dealers, distributors and all those parallel to a huge multinational corporate. The most intriguing operators happens to be those whose job it is to eliminate it, the government officials of the concerned departments, along with politicians to patronize them. That seems the hardest nut to crack. But with times changing, when the head of the government, the Prime Minister, determines to act firm against the enemy, a drastic change can be safely anticipated.

In the meantime, the war can be started at two sectors – home as well as educational institutions. They can easily prove effective in weaning the addicts off their mindless pursuit. At home, parents ought to keep a tab on the activities of their wards and if drugs are one of those, step in before it gets out of control. Siblings, other relatives and friends too can play a useful role as informers or mediators in cajoling the newly addicted off the destructive path.

As for colleges and universities, it has often been observed that a student starts growing wings on entering a Junior College, i.e., after the 10th.Board. Apart of elevation from a school boy/girl, the student experiences a touch of freedom and if he/she gets company of un-academic friends, it is too easy for him/her to get into their track, and drugs are a very common trap for them.

However, that is just the initial stage, and can be controlled by college authorities – principal, teachers, wardens and so on. If they keep a watchful eye for addicts, they simply have to identify them, warn them, inform their guardians, penalize them, and if they are too incorrigible, expel them. That would at least protect the rest of the students as well as the reputation of the institution.

Also, since drug addiction is not the mere drugs problem, it is a psycho-social-medical problem, the addict ought to be treated for all the three dimensions. The psycho seems to be the toughest of all, because it deeply erodes at the psychology, mainly the brain and behavior of the addict. It is not easy to give up a chronic addiction. That has deeper psychological disorders and sometimes leads to depression and psychiatric problems. In that case, one has to seek appropriate counseling and therapy.

Thus, taking a cue from PM Modi’s call and his concern at its growing magnitude as well as deadly consequences, all those current and potential victims of the malaise must start giving a serious thought to it and get into appropriate action. Let them and their well wishers hold on to hope. Because, as the axiom goes, ‘Where there is a will, there is a way.’ They must tell themselves, ‘all is not lost yet.’ Sincere efforts are bound to produce positive results.

But the first thing first, a firm resolution, ‘Say NO to drugs, and mean it!’ And what better moment could there be for the noble resolve than the forthcoming new year? So here is wishing our country and the world at large, ‘A happy DRUGS FREE 2015!

Ashok Misra

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