Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his third address to nation through ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme on All India radio referred to the drug addiction as a national pain that leads to destruction and devastation at a massive scale. He stressed that instead of persecuting the drug addicted youth, the drugs should be shunned. “Drug addiction is bad, not the child…For long, I have been having concern about the young generation…Drug addiction is a malaise-filled 3D – darkness, destruction and devastation”, He said.
In fact, he comprehensively addressed all related issues – how it has harmful and adverse effects on our younger generation and society at large, how the money earned from drugs could ultimately reach to the terror outfits, and what parents and elders should do to watch their children’s behavior pattern and timely counselling to prevent them for falling prey to drugs. He also stated that he would do everything to check drug menace including involving celebrities from the entertainment world, sportsmen and other fields to campaign for a drug-free India.
Conveying the message through the Radio programme has a distinct advantage. As more than two-third population in India lives in villages and the majority of them may not have easy access to television, addressing on Radio ensures that the message would reach every nook and corner of the country. In India, drug addicts most commonly use cannabis, opium, morphine, hashish and heroin. Cannabis is widely used and its variants are commonly known as ganja, charas, bhang and hashish.Opium and morphine are made from the resin of poppy plants. Milky, sap-like opium is removed from the pod of the poppy flower and refined to make morphine, and then further refined into various forms of heroin including the brown sugar.Brown sugar is basically a mixture of heroin and adulterants in the form of chalk, zinc or other chemicals.
Drug addiction is a major problem among many families, communities and for the law enforcement agencies. Incidence of drug addiction is higher among children and adolescents as they fall easy prey seeking experimentation and inducement by those involved in illegal trade of these drugs. Many families are ruined physically, socially and economically consequent to drug abuse by one or more members in the family. Drug abuse leads to legal problems, potentially dangerous situations, interference with daily routine and important obligations, ill mental and body health, social and relationship problems. Usual symptoms of drug dependence are withdrawal, intolerance, and persistent desire to use the drug, inability to resist the use of the drug, neglecting healthy aspects of life besides taking inordinate amount of energy, time and efforts recovering from the evils of drug abuse.
Ironically, there are no systematic sensitization programmes in India about drug abuse in schools and colleges or for children out of school. Also India does not have an effective drug abuse policy. Recently, a report published in the Hindustan Times on 13 August, 2014 suggested that in one of the states in the Northern India, namely Punjab, four out of every ten men are addicted to drugs. Prime Minister Modi too acknowledged the serious drug problem in Punjab during his 'Mann Ki Baat' programme.Advising parents to devote time on children, he said, “Let your children open their hearts to you. You should observe their behavior to see that they don’t go on the wrong path.”
Parents, teachers and community leaders can indeed be a major influence among the young children to save them from the drug abuse. Accordingly, Family, school and community based prevention programmes are needed for education, awareness and prevention of the younger generation from the evils of the drug addiction. Parents could be of immense help in educating them discipline and rules, harmful effects of drug use, knowing their friends and foes, understanding various problems and concerns, as also monitoring their activities. In schools, besides usual guidance from teachers, even drug prevention studies could be included in the curriculum. At community level also, civic and law enforcement agencies, NGOs, religious institutions and media could be of tremendous help through focus in spreading education, awareness and reform measures rather than the current punitive approach.