There is a famous saying that a neglected spark burns the house. When we scan the daily newspapers we come across many case studies related to drug addiction. I shall share few, youth died after overdose from drugs, teenage girl was thrown acid at by a drug addict, youth withdraws money from the bank using the ATM card of her mother without her knowledge for purchase of drugs, youth involved in car and mobile theft caught with heavy consignment of drugs, the cases are unending. The investigator administered Lidhoo’s Delinquency Proness scale for the identification of potential delinquents & non-delinquents. Non–delinquents were well aware about the contributory factors which lead to drug addiction. The investigator conducted detailed discussion with the respondents on this important dimension of social awareness. This exercise provided an opportunity to the researcher to share his thoughts with the respondents on the evils of drug addiction. A checklist highlighting the abuses and preventive measures for drug addiction was distributed among the respondents .Why there was focus on this important dimension I have a case to share. A wealthy parent out of blind love gives excessive material resources to his child. The child loses the sense of appreciating the value of property. One day driving his SUV car at a high speed on Parraypora road he hit a bolder and received multiple head injuries; later it was detected he was overdosed with drugs.
Non delinquents listed following contributory factors for drug addiction.
(a) In order to improve their health some people take drugs, to which with the passage of time they become accustomed and become drug addicts.
(b) In order to relieve themselves from some pain or tension people make use of these drugs. With the continued use of these drugs they cannot say goodbye and ultimately become addicts.
(c) Alienation, hopelessness, despair is a global and often loosely used term for one of the causes of drug use and many other social evils. When a person has no hope, s/he is much more likely to use drugs. Further, pleasure seeking is also an important psychological reason for drug use. In an increasingly hedonistic society, pleasure seeking has societal aspect as well. Whether, we talk of it as feeling good, getting high, euphoric or happy, the quest for pleasure constitutes a major motive for drug taking from alcohol to heroin to valium.
(d) The youth develop curiosity by social contacts and vivid stories, which in most cases stretch the imagination and permeate the group. Many teens want to try drugs for new experience. Many teens feel curious after listening to psychedelic music that incorporates drug experiences and terms into swings created essentially for drug users.
(e) The easy access and availability rather over-availability of all these substances, whether legal or illegal and their relatively affordable cost per dose, contributes to drug addiction. We also found that in the areas, where cannabis and other drugs are cultivated, the people had more chances to get involved in the drug abuse.
(f) Psychologists have observed from time to time that many youth turn to drugs for the sole purpose of belonging to the group. The boys or girls who have weak upbringing in the family are swept away by the influence of the peer groups or any other external influence. Among the various segments of the peer groups, the influence of the friends is more important. In a study it has been found that students who use drugs, were those who trusted their friends and estranged in varying degrees from parents.
(g) The quality of parental relationship is equally vital so far as the contributory factors of drug abuse are concerned. The ordinary care exercised by the parents may keep youth away from the drugs and on the other hand their carelessness or involvement in drug abuse or alcoholism may also attract youth towards drugs… Yes, first towards soft drugs and then hard drugs follow.
(h) Family is a strong unit and plays vital role in shaping attitudes and behavior of its members particularly that of young persons and children. Broken family where one of the parents may be a dead or quarrelsome or violent or arrogant mounts pressure upon its members and consequently the children and youth remain under constant psychological strain. In order to escape from psychological strain children and youth take drugs and get themselves trapped in drug addiction. The students whose parents have been disagreeing with each other on different issues have been easily drawn to drugs.
(i) The defective educational system contributes towards drug abuse not only in one way but in so many ways. It mounts pressure upon the youth and keeps them under constant anxiety. The defective educational system which is certificate oriented rather than job oriented poses numberless questions to the youth and makes their plight very miserable. They always think about job and un-employment creates many difficulties in their day to day functioning.
Drugs have been used throughout the ages to escape discomfort and misery. The youth in the present era of knowledge explosion try to compete at each and every level, but they are disgusted and disappointed, when they find that they have become the victims of inequality, discrimination, corruption and high handedness etc. The individual achievements and merit are ignored in the corrupt and materialistic oriented society. It is unpalatable and all this creates tension among the youth. During my research I found significant number of my respondents from the delinquent category involved in drug addiction. Eliciting information from them for research purpose and say a goodbye I did not find proper. Their lost childhood gave me sleepless nights, I was worried about this budding crop. If today it is somebody’s child tomorrow it can be my child; so our collective responsibility goes beyond research. I contacted their teachers and parents and educated them how to pull their child from the tentacles of drug addiction and they cooperated.
The investigator conducted a detailed interview with Dr Muzaffar Ahmad Khan, clinical psychologist Drug Deaddiction Center Wanganpora Eidgah. He shared some alarming facts from the valley regarding drug abuse. There were cases where drug addicts consume medicinal opiates like corex, spasmoproxyon, Alprox. Now there is a new trend in Kashmir; deviated youth are becoming victim of heroine abuse. Post 5 August 2019 when there was uncertainty in valley I visited SMHS hospital 20 young people were on ventilators, 18 were drug addicts and due to non-availability of drug they were not able to handle themselves and landed in hospital. Rate is rising across socio cultural profiles. There are same drug addicts using the same insulin syringe and suffer from hepatitis c virus. The victims of heroine abuse have daily expenditure of Rs 2000, where from they will get this money? As investigator I made the following intervention. The parents were educated by sharing the following information with them: Parents need to play a crucial role in controlling drug abuse among their children. Since parental neglect, over hostility, rejection, marital disharmony play an important role in perpetuating drug addiction, parents have to take more care in keeping the family environment harmonious. Since addiction does not develop overnight and it involves a process of evolution of losing interest in studies, activities and hobbies, indulging in irresponsible behavior, irritability, impulsive conduct and having a dazed expression, parents can locate the early signs by being alert and can make sure that the child withdraws from the habit. In preventing drug abuse, the role of parents could be:
communicate openly with the children, listen to their problems patiently, and teach them how to handle the problems,
take interest in children’s activities and their circle of friends,
set an example for children by not taking drugs or alcohol,
keep track of prescribed drugs in home, and
learn as much as possible about drugs.
The teachers were educated by sharing the following information with them: The teachers too can help much in the prevention of drug abuse;
they can discuss dangers of drug abuse with the students by talking informally and openly
they can keep themselves interested in their students’ interest and activities
they can encourage them to volunteer information of any incident of drug abuse
they can talk about the problems of adolescence and guide students how to solve them
they can help them in selecting career options and setting goals
they can encourage them to discuss their (students’) crises (of family, peer group, money, etc.) with them and help them to the best of their abilities in facing these crises
The physicians were educated by sharing the following information with them: The target population for educational measures for prevention should be young students particularly those living in hostels and away from the control of their parents, people living in slums, industrial workers, and truck drivers and rickshaw pullers. The method of imparting education should be such that people involve themselves actively and there is a free exchange of valuable information. The type of education which would be more effective would be one whereby they are able to discard a good deal of inaccurate and misleading knowledge about artificial euphoria and acquire information which is more authoritative pertaining to physical and psychological effects of the so called mood modifying drugs, their pharmacological properties and their medical use. A change in the attitude of doctors in prescribing too many drugs can go a long way in controlling the abuse of drugs. The doctors have to show a greater care in not ignoring the side effects of the drugs. Though drugs help many, yet there are dangers of over dependency. Once a patient gets a prescription from a doctor that cures his ailment, he ceases to consult the doctor and continues to use the drug indiscriminately or excessively whenever he suffers from the same ailment. Thus, people come to depend more on medication than on physician which is a dangerous practice. To conclude let us pledge to create a society which is free from the menace of drug addiction.
Showkat Rashid Wani is Assistant Professor, Directorate of Distance Education, University of Kashmir