Manish, an 18-year-old school dropout is smoking smack, an adulterated form of heroin, in a dingy flat along with a bunch of friends. He carefully prepares a wrap of the drug, then leans over the heated silver foil to smoke it before lolling back, staring wide-eyed at the ceiling.
“If current trends continue, 250 million children alive today will be killed by tobacco.” – W.H.O.
Starting from cigarettes, alcohol, thinner, whitener, opium, cannabis, etc etc. Millions of people are dependent on them, drug misuse is a phenomenal pervasive.
The incidence of drug abuse among children and adolescents is higher than the general population. Generally because youth is a time for experimentation and identity forming.
In India, an NGO study revealed that 63.6% of patients coming to treatment were introduced to drugs at a young age under 15 years. According to another report 13.1% of the people involved in drug trafficking and substance abuse in India are below 20 years. Heroin, opium, alcohol, marijuana and Propoxyphene are the five most common drugs being abused by children in India. Research shows that, for all users of alcohol, marijuana and opium 21%, 3% and 0.1% are below the age of eighteen. An emerging trend on child abusers is the use of a cocktail of drugs by injection, and often sharing the same needle, which increases the risk of HIV infection. General 0.4% and 4.6% of all candidates for treatment in several states were children.
The problem in India is there are no sensitization programmes about drug abuse in schools or for children out of school.
Mere building of treatment centres will not be enough, and millions of drug users in the community will have to be motivated, informed, and encouraged to come forward to seek treatment.
Strong steps need to be taken to curb this problem
The major drawback is not only with the Government agencies, but also the society. We need to evolve as a society, and stop pressurizing teenagers with unnecessary issues. Jesse Jackson said, ‘Today’s students can put dope in their veins or hope in their brains. If they can conceive it and believe it, they can achieve it. They must know it is not their aptitude but their attitude that will determine their altitude.’