Douse the Flame

Drug addiction is silently consuming young lives. Some recently reported cases are an eye opener to realize the gravity of this alarming issue. Unfortunately, the drug mafia has stretched its tentacles all across the society. The increasing involvement of educated youth is unfolding as a nightmare. The deafening siren of emergency to douse the flames of this burning issue calls for immediate collective response.

Fact of the matter is that drug addiction is rampant in our society. According to a survey conducted by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) in February 2019, 600,000 people, i.e. 4.6 percent of the total population of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir use opioid drugs, while 80 percent of the drug addicts in Kashmir use heroin and morphine. This burning social issue has traversed many stages and at present has reached horrendous heights.

Permeating passively, drugs perforate and paralyze. How drugs are made available? Who are involved in this extended supply chain? Why even having regulatory and enforcement agencies in place the menace is flourishing day by day? How far an addict stoops down to afford the consumption of drugs? What unfair pretexts and practices extend the chain reaction of crime in sustaining the vicious cycle of drug addiction? And more importantly, while just watching from a distance, how safe is our well-being at a time when drug addiction is advancing exponentially?

The number of reported cases are far too less than the number of those who are involved. Teen agers and young adults constitute a major lot of the drug addicts. The mafia masters are adept in identifying their potential target individuals. Early approach and interactions are warm and friendly and later the soft targets are exposed to the sweet poison with gradual and incremental dosage. The graded exposure develops conditioning and a free fall in the trap finally concludes into complete dependence on drugs. The supply chain managers of drugs enjoy free will in exploiting drug addicts.  This anticipated climax stage is orchestrated by beastly minded mafia masters.

The overdose of drugs turns an addict into a living corpse losing control and connection with actual reality. With a delusional mindset, drug addicts explore all ways and means whether illegal or anti-social to maintain continuity of drug dependence. This criminal connotation of drug addiction is threatening and poses a challenge to entire societal wellbeing. The expanding graph of drug addiction is thus compromising the safety of every one of us.

For regulatory authorities and law enforcing agencies, drug addiction is to be treated as an emergency now. If saving lives of youth and preventing them from getting indulged in this menace is their real mandate and motto, this is the time to exhibit iron will and commitment to uproot this evil. Who is accountable for drug addiction related deaths that are anonymously creeping up every day? Can such deaths be prevented?  Yes, timely intervention and proactive response can save lives of many who are drifting deep inside the deadly den of drugs. The needle of responsibility is fluctuating and pointing at other key stake holders who are equally responsible in playing their roles.

Prevention and control of drug addiction is a lifesaving endeavor. Free access and availability of drugs is propelling the ship of shame to cover long distances. Vested interest groups and individuals are hell bent to target and tarnish young generation with misleading designs. At the behest of their interests and instructions a foolproof mafia network has gained ground that sustains this murky menace. Many imposters wearing deceptive garbs running the show are faceless and nameless. The tough task for the custodians of public health and safety is to unveil the big wigs that are acting as ring masters and enjoying patronage of big lords. Once the serpents head is crushed, the tail becomes paralyzed and lifeless.

Regarding availability, there is an ironical fact that pharmacy counters demand for production of doctor’s prescription to provide certain categories of drugs especially pain killers for patients with chronic illness. What one fails to understand is how drug addicts are gaining easy access to banned drugs.

Indirect interventions like awareness campaigns, community sensitization, symposia and seminars, debates and discussions at institutional levels are important. But to curb the menace requires catching the bull by the horns. Sermons are ineffective as long as the crime gets anchored deeper within the society. The entire network of drug mafia needs to be dismantled with concrete action. Seizure and capture of parcels and persons off and on must be replaced with an all-out operation against drug mafia.

Civil society groups, NGOs and philanthropic minds associated with awareness campaigns need to reconsider their role and responsibility amidst the deteriorating scenario. Sporadic incidents of deaths due to addiction are regularly flashing with increased frequency. In this worsening crisis, witnessing the tragic end of young souls is disturbing and disheartening. Concrete steps and strategies aimed at rescuing lives are indispensable now. As strong pressure groups and whistle blowers, collaborative efforts on part of civil society groups, religious organisations and support and responsive support from concerned authorities is the only hope. Instead of prevention, complete abolition of drug mafia should be the sole mission of all individuals and institutions to emancipate society from this perilous disaster.

Parental control and supervision cannot be ignored. Present circumstances expose young generation to various vulnerabilities. Both in real world as well as in virtual spaces (social media networks), there are potent risks that parents must be mindful about. Healthy family environment along with persistent protective surveillance of behavioral patterns of teenagers and young adults cannot be compromised at all.  Parents need to maintain vigilance in early identification of any undesired traits among children. Ignoring early symptoms with reluctant attitude later on lands the individual to the point of no return. Putting things under carpet and ignoring early symptomatic signs can prove a costly mistake. The family as primary stakeholder is at the forefront to play a pivotal role to curb this evil. Social stigma associated with drug addiction must be addressed with affirmative actions.

This will be a great deal of service towards community if local media outlets venture to carry out sting operations against drug mafia and expose the main culprits operating disguisedly.  Every conscientious citizen stands in solidarity with such individuals and institutions that display exemplary commitment and courage to take this challenge head on. Let us all come forward and extend our full support to various measures aimed at clean sweeping the curse of drug addiction. Wisdom lies in sidelining all differences of opinion and disagreements for now and join hands to weed out the nuisance of drug addiction. This is an emergency to speak up and speak for abolition of this monstrous evil that is now consuming young lives. Silence can only fuel the flames of this fire further.