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    Dr. Parveen Kumar

    Rightly called the devastating drug addiction menace as a national pain by Primeminister of the country Sh. Narendra Modi, the menace is spreading its tentacles in every nook and corner of the country. India has now taken over from China as the most populous country of the , but with the advantage that the country has largest no. of youth population. Youth is an asset for any country whose energy when channelized in a positive way can contribute to the progress of the nation. Unfortunately, in our country the youth is increasingly getting addicted to drugs. It is the tragedy of our days that millions of youths, the future citizens of India, fall victims to the habit of taking drugs. These addicted people are on the way to the steady and sure death. This social evil affects an individual as well as nation as a whole. Several states have high rates of drug use, including Punjab where nearly 75% of youth are addicted. A government survey found children as young as 9 are using drugs in Delhi. Every day India witnesses 10 suicides related to drug abuse.

    WHAT IS DRUG ADDICTION? Drug addiction refers to the condition of being addicted to a particular drug, particularly narcotic drugs. The most disturbing thing about drug addiction is that people in different countries of the world are becoming addicted to all kinds of drugs. Drug addiction is basically a brain disease that changes the functioning of brain. There is an uncontrollable desire to consume drugs, as a result of which addicted people engage in compulsive behaviour to take drugs. The addicts find it impossible to control the intake of drugs, as a result of which they fail to fulfill day-to-day responsibilities in an efficient manner.

    DIFFERENT TYPES OF DRUGS: There are different types of street drugs such as Cocaine, Heroin, Marijuana, Cannabis, Opiates and others. Heroin is one of the most dangerous drugs that suppress our heart's work. Drug addiction is referred as drug dependency, as the addict develops dependency for a particular substance.

    SYMPTOMS OF DRUG ADDICTION: These affect the mood and behaviour of a person. Those who are addicted to drug taking lose quickness of mind, sense of friendliness, warmth and social awareness. In the long run, they suffer from false beliefs with always being in an unorganized and agitated violent behaviour. They also develop tendency to commit suicide. Mostly the youth residing in hostels fall easy prey to drug addiction. Drug addiction may also have long term impact on life and one may develop severe symptoms such as fatigue, trembling, depression, anxiety, headache, insomnia, chills and sweating, paranoia, behavior changes, dilated pupils, poor coordination problems etc.

    A lot of people do not realize the damage caused by drug addiction because the short term effects are not apparent at first. The individual may feel quite invincible and unaware that drugs can actually affect almost every system in the body. The long lasting effects of drug addiction may not be known to the addict. If treatment is not sought in time, the physical and emotional of that person will deteriorate.

    WHY PEOPLES TAKE TO DRUGS? People usually take to drug abuse in order to curb the stress caused due to the family issues, pressure at work, growing competition in schools and colleges, relationship problems, financial issues or feeling of emptiness. Youths usually get involved in this out of curiosity or due to pressure from their peer group. Besides, it can also be a genetic problem. Whatever be the reason, it is essential to understand that drug abuse is a serious concern for not only for the addict but for all of us.

    DRUG ABUSE IN JAMMU AND : In recent years Jammu and Kashmir in India has seen an increase in the drug use. The Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment in 1923 conveyed to the Parliament of India that approximately 14 lakh drug users are estimated to be in Jammu and Kashmir, with the majority falling within the age range of 18 to 75 years. The breakdown includes approximately 5.4 lakh individuals abusing opioid, 4.20 lakh using alcohol, 1.4 lakh consuming cannabis, and 1.35 lakh inhaling substances.. As per a survey carried out by the Jammu and Kashmir administration last year; over 52,000 individuals in Kashmir acknowledged their heroin usage. According to statistics compiled by the J&K government, in 2023 alone, 11,476 patients visited various drug de-addiction centres across J&K seeking treatment and counseling to combat substance abuse.

    Findings revealed that, on average, a user spent approximately 88,000 rupees ($1,063.54; £860) per month to sustain their drug habit. In Kashmir Division, the condition is also going from bad to worse. A 2022 study by the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences IMHANS, in Srinagar, observed an exponential rise in substance abuse in the Kashmir Valley. In 2023, a study conducted by this institute also revealed that the prevalence of Hepatitis C among drug abusers in Kashmir is 72 percent. The institute received 150 drug addiction cases per day. It also found that over 33 thousand syringes are being used daily for heroin injections. In the age group of 10 to 17 years, an estimated 1, 68, 700 children in Jammu and Kashmir are involved in drug use. The substances being used by these children include Cannabis, Opioid, Sedatives, Cocaine, Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS), inhalants, and Hallucinogens.

    HOW TO MAKE DRUG FREE SOCIETY: It is wise to stay away from it. Those who are already a victim to this menace can seek expert guidance to overcome it. Proper medication, support from loved ones and strong will power can take one out of the dark world of drug abuse. The treatment for drug abuse is extended over a long period so as to ensure that the problem does not relapse. One of the key remedial measures is education. Schools and colleges should take the lead in educating students about the negative effects of drugs and alcohol. Educational institutions should 2organize workshops, seminars, and awareness campaigns that discuss the harmful impact of addiction on physical and mental health, relationships, and society as a whole. The stigma attached to addiction often discourages people from seeking help. To overcome this, it is necessary to create a supportive environment that encourages individuals to come forward and seek help.

    It is also essential to have strict laws and regulations in place to curb the production, distribution, and consumption of drugs and alcohol. The government can impose heavy taxes on such products, make it difficult for people to obtain them, and enforce stringent laws that deter individuals from engaging in these activities. Law enforcement agencies should work closely with community members to identify and address drug-related issues in their neighborhoods.

    In conclusion, creating an India as dreamt by Gandhi requires a collective effort from all members of society. We need to recognize the dangers of addiction and take proactive steps to prevent it from becoming a widespread problem. By raising awareness, creating a supportive environment, and implementing strict laws and regulations, we can build a society that is free from the negative effects of drugs and alcohol.

    The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has prepared a National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction for the period 2018-25. The plan focuses on Preventive education, Awareness generation, treatment and rehabilitation of drug dependent persons and training and capacity building of service providers through collaborative efforts of government and Non Government Organizations. A National centre for Drug Abuse Prevention has also been set up by the National Institute of Social to provide technical support to the government on policies relating to substance abuse prevention and providing services for substance demand reduction. This centre also carries out programmes for capacity building and training personnel of de-addiction centres.

    June 26 every year is celebrated as International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking to generate awareness among the masses regarding the harmful effects of drugs. As the country is making all out efforts to weed out the menace of drugs, let us become a part of Nasha Mukt Bharat campaign since the evil can be eradicated from the society only with people's participation.


    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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