Substance use disorder

The drugs create a sense of relaxation and feeling of euphoria which vanishes after the effect diminishes

Substance use disorder  has emerged as a serious public health concern disturbing the personal, family and the social fabric in Jammu and Kashmir. News papers report, on daily basis, arrests of drug peddlers with recovery of some cash and quantity of contraband substance. 

As per a study J&K has 90 percent of drug victims in the age group of 17-33 years. This is an addition to the havoc spurious drugs and counterfeit medicines have played with life of people in general.

Substance use disorder, commonly known as drug addiction, cripples the mental and physical wellness of people by effecting their cognitive controls, ability, self-confidence and causing neurasthenia disabling them to negotiate life. Drugs and the medicines are not synonymous but different.

Drug is a chemical that takes control of mind or body while as medicines reverse this and restore the control back.

However, there are thousands of approved drugs called prescription drugs and as such sold on presentation of prescription only of a registered medical practitioner. Routes of drug addiction may be oral, nasal, ocular, transmucosal, transdermal etc. There are said to be seven stages of drug addiction.

They are initiation, experiment, regular use, risky use, dependence, addiction and crisis. The addicts are involved in the use of drugs which are depressants, stimulants, analgesics and hallucinogens (causing hallucinations in literal meaning). They generally use heroin, cocaine, marijuana, opium, alcohol, nicotine etc. The sources of these drugs are plants, animals, minerals, marine sources, chemical derivatives, bio-synthetics etc.

Heroin is said to be one of the costliest drugs associated with crime. A little quantity of such drugs in possession of an unauthorized person may cause arrest and warrant trial under prohibition laws. Addicts use these drugs to falsely remove depression & melancholy, invigorate mind & body, kill pain & inflammation, and frolic in delusion.

They weave a momentary imaginative world to feel riddance from the empirical around them. They create a sense of relaxation and feeling of euphoria which vanishes after the effect evaporates.

They further enfeeble the victim’s prospective physical and mental stamina making them more prone to such fickle & frail reliance tending ultimately to incurable or untreatable status.

To extirpate this menace special counseling sessions, awareness programmes, and information, education & communication strategy are organized at Government level. Drug De-addiction & Rehabilitation Centres (DD&RCs) have been established with healthcare professionals attending there to the effected persons for retrieval and quick recovery.

Officers of the Anti Narcotics Task Force have been advised to maximize the surveillance & vigilance in the areas which confront drug trafficking and which have shown increase in addiction and  substance abuse.

To curb this fatal activity multifaceted strategy including proper yoking of enforcement agencies, enhancement of drug testing capacity, assessment of illicit production & trade, seizure & destruction of contraband, arrest &conviction of accused and rehabilitation of victims is emphasized at high end meetings.

However, despite introduction and imposition of these preventive and curative measures coupled with enlarged policing and surveillance the number of cases has risen as reflected in the increasing number of registrations at DD&RCs indicating two glaring things.

One, that source has not dried up and lava continues with much force & mass crossing barriers and swaying many. Two, the apprehension of recidivism. Both make  a more horrifying net addition.

There is drug trafficking also. While as drug addiction is mainly personal & individual stoked by haplessness, drug trafficking is a global illicit trade which involves cultivation, manufacture, transporting, distribution and illegal sale of controlled substances.

However, this difference does not fetter them to be co-workers and co-helpers in destroying the human capital and its welfare. Rather drug traffickers inveigle the gullible to addiction with assurance of lofty pastures & positions. Drug dealers are called dope pushers, dope peddlers, bagmen, candy-men, drug peddlers and drug traffickers.

Poverty, insatiable greed for wild riches, unemployment, ignorance, lack of self-control, pull of carnal allurements, history of abuse, negative peer pressure, domestic atmosphere, family constriction, loss of loved ones  are the main causes for drug addiction and  trafficking.

Knowing what life is nobody wants to extinguish or shorten it or make it painful and distasteful. None likes to die even those who are of the belief and promise of heaven after life. It is irreparable and non-negotiable instrument before Almighty. All cherish a long life to enjoy fully.

If life is rare one time gift and a non-renewable lease why do some lessees mar it and get consumed? Why do this vital age interval wherefrom crop of nation’s builders, architects and protectors springs falls prey to this nuisance? This creamy layer becoming vulnerable to detestable & avoidable infirmities to render them undesired objects pose serious questions that give rise to grave problems demanding early solution.

According to a report (3/2023) of Central Ministry of Home Affairs the number of crime cases booked for possessing drugs for personal use has increased from 255 in 2019 to 357 in 2021 and those booked for trafficking drugs from 918 to 1324 during the same period.

Growing incidences of volume and intensity of this incubus that appears to turn to a hydra headed monster despite expanding oversight mechanism is too big a question to remain unasked and unsolved.

Education, employment, valuation of an activity are keys to change the psychology of people to think from lethal to ethical and war to welfare. We honour, exalt, extol, encourage, reward, award and celebrate singers, dancers, musicians, film & sports stars, or a product or an event and youth follow the suit. Kids consume the legacies of their parents.

If morality and ethics are dealt the above manner, surely they will pave way for a better mind-set. Economic distress has also to be addressed. Aerial sermons or dictations won’t do except approved policies pursued practically and constantly.

Teaching of moral /ethical education and linking it with faith and taken as religious exclusivity thus a forbidden tree has to be changed. But expulsion and exclusion of this discipline has been the unfortunate part of our education policy although big think-tanks frame/wet it.

New subjects and topics are evolved with teaching/learning methods taught at State/Centre level but not one that provides self-control and addresses inanition of body & soul. Like other sciences there must be moral & ethical science. You can remind or hold accountable a person if he/she is assigned with an outlined physical duty.

We cannot remind of a non-existent thing or event. In a market of society we cannot have fruits of a tree since uprooted from the garden of education. A proper & sufficient moral education must be provided in the syllabus forming definite part of curricula  to be imparted like other subjects in Government and the private education sector.

Unless angle of thinking is changed from privileging wild materiality to morality and self-restraint, no thoughts and results different from existing may come. The human vehicle will continue to ply uncontrolled on a perilous road to destroy or damage itself. Let us ensure safety of both.

The author is a former Sr. Audit Officer and Consultant in the A.G’s Office Srinagar.

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