Danger zone – Young people and addiction in India

Why do the young turn into drug addicts and what could be the reasons for their increasing number in our country? Riti Naik looks for answers.

The ‘d’ generation
Ranmeet never came second in class throughout his school life, he was that brilliant. Besides, being an excellent drummer and a swift swimmer, he was also an obedient child. However, when he got through IIT Kharagpur, he lost interest in studies as he had never wanted to take up engineering. With a huge syllabus before him and an adamant mother behind, today, the boy stays with his father in his room. Ranmeet is a drug addict, and his father tries day and night to help him out, fully aware that sending him to a rehab would put an end to his studies. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
This incident talks about a victim who has been treated mercilessly by circumstances. Yet, everyday, thousands of students, all over the country are actually willing to become drug abuse victims. Among these, numerous have already become addicted and blighted their lives.
No one ever aims to become an addict. Who knew that a brilliant boy like Ranmeet would turn his life into such a hell? Well, a question can be asked here: did he turn his life into that of an addict? The answer is ‘yes’ because no one could have taken the drug for him to become an addict. Yet, is he solely responsible for his state? Can we put the entire blame on him? This is the general mistake made by society, which comprises people like you and I – to put the blame on the user. No doubt the user is most guilty, but the contribution of circumstances is something undeniable here.
First, why did a studious boy like Ranmeet take a drug? Or, if we expand the question: why do students of the twenty-first century take drugs?
In most cases youngsters ‘try out’ drugs. When peer pressure threatens to label someone as an outcaste, people generally give in. After the effects are experienced, whenever, a youngster feels s/he cannot cope with her/his circumstances, they fall back on drugs. In this way, they become dependent on drugs during their stressful times. Once a person is under the influence of drugs, s/he will subsequently need more amounts of it every time to produce the same effect. If this is not nipped in the bud, there is very little chance of the person not to turn into an addict.
This is a very crucial point of one’s life, where s/he needs support from loved ones, which is denied most of the times. And specially, after becoming an addict, society turns its face away once they push her/him to a rehab. We must understand that they are what they are today because, somewhere in their lives, they have made a wrong choice, somewhere they haven’t been guided well. And because of this mistake, their lives have changed, they have become unknown beings to themselves, the spark within them flickered out.
So, if we consider ourselves to be responsible people who are wise enough not to make that wrong choice, don’t you agree that it’s our responsibility to accept them too? To try to give them what they deserve? To at least help them get back to their previous life?
No matter how much we try, we cannot run away from drugs. The menace has crept into the very roots of society. Drug abuse is rampant everywhere, all around us -some in large magnitudes, others in less significant numbers. In Australia, selling of loose petrol (which is directly not put inside the engine), is banned. Addicts inhale the smell of petrol for they can’t pay for ‘harder’ drugs. Many times, while waiting at road signals, we see little boys and girls coming with scraps of cloth to wipe the car windows and ask for alms. Some of them, in a quick gesture of picking up something on the ground, wipe the exhaust pipe, preferably of bikes. Once the signal is back , they wait for the next one, sniff the cloth to kill hunger. The child becomes a victim of drug abuse.
One does not become a drug addict only from heroin, cocaine, crack, marijuana(or any other form of it) or club drugs (like Ecstasy, LSD). Many times some addicts even sniff Fevicol, dendrite, nail polish removers, enamel paints and correction pen fluids. These are referred to as ‘inhalants’ and cause severe permanent damages to the brain in the long run. These volatile substances, if taken in good quantity can actually give the user a ‘high’ and lead to addiction. And along with this, we also have alcohol, cigarettes, and pharmaceutical products (sleeping pills, cough syrups and painkillers). Even if they don’t make addicts, they pave the road for one.
The human body can function well without drugs. Mentally, we are quipped with reasoning power with which we can fight every thought that disturbs us. We therefore can solve every problem ourselves, and in case some of us are unable to, there are various other options. Seeking refuge in drugs is not the solution.
Drugs are illegal, hard to obtain and have terrifying after effects – we all know that. So why fall victim to something as heinous as drugs, when you can manage everything yourself? Many take drugs to get that feeling of confidence and being on top of the world. This feeling can be experienced the moment you know what you are doing and your conscience favours you.
The reasons why the youth take drugs, like stress management, for getting that euphoric feeling, making their bodies feel they way they want to —can be all achieved with a little bit of hard work which will in turn do wonders for the mind and body as well.
A human being is a natural creation and a part of it cannot be artificial. Drugs produce effects that are artificial; be it the painkiller or the LSD effect, when you become part of another world. Once, one starts using drugs, one is less dependent on her/his own body functions and more dependent on this foreign stimulant. At first the body refuses to take in excess of such stuff and the person rejects it by throwing up. But once the bodily functions are somewhat affected and the normal working of the human body has decreased, the body gives in and the addict becomes a victim of overdose.
Many movies depict the complete destruction of a character due to drug abuse. Fashion portrays a super model Shonali (played by Kangana Ranaut), who initially a drug addict, spoils her entire career and subsequently, her whole life with her increasing dependence on drugs. In Dev D, Dev (Abhay Deol), doesn’t care to see how much he has started deteriorating in the eyes of those who love him. Other movies like Devdas, Don-2, we see that though the protagonists knew that another drink would kill them, yet they could not restrain themselves. They chose drugs over normal life, destruction over self-restraint.
Many times, events in our lives compel us to give up all hope and shut ourselves up in darkness. Most people use drugs in such a situation to escape that dreadful feeling of loss. And this is the excuse many of our friends give when we come to know about their addictive habits. Most of the times we let them indulge in it, thinking it would be better for them to forget the incident. However, supporting the usage of drugs is as dangerous as misuse of drugs. As a responsible generation, we have to make a decision now; we have to say ‘No’ to drugs.
Nothing can equal the confidence with which an innocent child dreams. These dreams long to be fulfilled by the child buried deep inside us as we grow up. Some claim to need drugs just to feel confident, yet a major bulk of the world population is functioning very well without drugs.
A drug is not a prerequisite for existence. With an able mind and body, we can surely create our own style, we can have our own vision. With a little awareness we can be naturally high on confidence and nurture our own dreams.
And now that we know that we can do well without drugs, we must completely do away with it. We can only be great individuals once we are completely independent, when we do not have to depend on anything to bring out the best in us.
A drug is not a scary subject. It’s just about a strong decision we’ve have make and say “No thanks, I’m fine without drugs”, whenever someone offers it to us.

Coordinator, La Martiniere for Girls
Source: Daily Dose May 2009

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