It’s a common fact that drug abuse is on an all-time high in India. However, the true extent of the proliferation of drugs is still unknown to many. According to the data shared by the Narcotics Control Bureau, there are nearly 70 million drug abusers in India. A majority of the drug abusers are concentrated in the states of DELHI, Punjab, Dharamshala and Goa. Drugs are also smuggled into India through the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat and from the areas near the Wagah Border in Punjab as well.
Furthermore, the data shared by the NCB, the consumption of natural drugs has increased at an alarming rate in the recent past. Synthetic drugs like Cocaine and Heroin happen to be way more harmful than natural ones. The smuggling and consumption of Heroin increased by 250%.
The consumption of cocaine increased by nearly 250% between 2012-2015 and that of morphine skyrocketed by about 500% during the same period. Among the natural extracts, only opium saw a rise during this period just because of the fact that opium is used in manufacturing heroin.
Okay, let me turn your attention to the most disturbing trend. The biggest threat posed by the vicious circle of drugs is that drug use particularly that of synthetic drugs, is affecting children. According to a study conducted by The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), a vast majority of children are consuming drugs.
The study was conducted jointly by the NCPCR and AIIMS and spanned across 27 Indian states. The study further revealed that around 27% of children below 18 are consuming Heroin in the Indian state of Meghalaya followed closely by Punjab, where 19% children use this drug. Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh occupy the 3rd spot with 15% children using heroin. These numbers are shocking, aren’t they?
Furthermore, 89% children in Meghalaya, 23% in Maharashtra and 13% children in Punjab abuse injectable drugs. The use of injectable drugs also exposes the users to a much greater risk of contracting to diseases like HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis.
After going through all these numbers, I, in all fairness, would like to believe that drug abuse in India has grown by leaps and bounds because of the inefficient handling of the problem by the largely ineffective and obsolete laws of our country. Drug abuse in India has led to many other problems. Overcrowding of the prisons happens to be one of those problems. Prisons in the state of Punjab, for instance, can accommodate nearly 19,000 prisoners, but the actual number of prisoners that have been imprisoned are somewhere around 26,000.
A huge chunk of drug supplies comes through the Wagah region in Punjab. Drug smugglers are being used to push Jihadists into India. They’re also giving rise to an army of drug addicts in India. Reminds me of the Bollywood flick Udta Punjab (Flying Punjab) which has been banned in India with the censor board asking for as many as 40 cuts in the movie.
Letters and pleas of the common man have taken the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi by storm. The problem does not stop here. The stigma of being labeled as a “Drug-addict” is stopping many teenagers from seeking medical help. Getting these teenagers to rehabilitation centers happens to be a much bigger issue than combating the problem of drug abuse. Forget everything else, easy availability of drugs and narcotics is the biggest reason behind the increased use and abuse of drugs in India. Laws are there, but only on paper and that’s the sad part.
The type of media and content we are subjected to and may come across is also, in some ways, responsible for making children and youngsters addicted to drugs. When the good-for-nothing Punjabi rapper/singer sings and bombards us with songs like ‘Chaar Botal Vodka’ and ‘Dope-shope’. Mr Honey singh, in the most glamorous of manners, asking youngsters to go and grab alcohol and drugs.
Films like Udta Punjab, which aim at showcasing the intoxication problem that is presently being faced by millions are being banned. How can we expect people to come out of the problem if they don’t understand the problem?