Dinakaran, a Tamil daily, carried a half-page article on July 28, 2022. It gives surprising information on how today’s youth do not march towards liquor shops, instead go to medical shops and buy cough syrup, surgical spirit, sleeping pills and other medicines meant for psychological patients, and use them. Besides, they also use after-shave lotion and nail polish. They buy Anacin and Saridon tablets, mix them with soft drinks like Coke and Fanta and drink to experience the effects of the drug. Another shocking news is that the drug addict youth buy condom, dip it in the warm water for some time, fill it with water and drink. This seems to be giving them a ‘kick’ for 10 to 12 hours. Today, one of the fast-selling items in the medical shops seems to be condoms.
Drug addiction is one such serious and disastrous problem that has trapped the young generation if we see the statistics; most of the teenagers in the 17-20 years have been found to be seriously addicted to the unethical substance abuse or drug addiction and these have been mostly the college and even school-going students. Even the underprivileged and poor children have also been found to be involved in drug abuse/addiction.
As per the International Journal for Current Research, the twenty first century witnesses the trait by substance and illicit drug abuse that is considered as a global challenging problem. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated about seven percent of the global population between the 15-64 age group have been using illicit substances almost in all developing and developed countries.
The risk factors for the illicit drug abusers are lack of social bonding, low status of family, family relations, parental care, neglected defective emotional and psychiatric problems, stress and other problems. In the sociological context, drug is a term of habit-forming substance which directly affects the human body.
So, illicit drug and substance abuse lead to physical and psychological health problems. Those who use the drugs do it for crazy experience and for showing social status. It is high time to raise awareness about the consequences of substance abuse and the problem of health deterioration among youth.
According to the Indian National Bar Association, the educational system with a competitive and a non-flexible nature has an impact where youths and students opt for fighting this non-flexibility with a state of mind which destroys everything. With millions of youngsters appearing for various competitions in life, they find a solution out of stress in a form which certainly undermines their lifetime struggle for their goals. With youngsters opting for drugs and anti-depressants to combat stress, not only they march towards putting a blot on their identity, but also on their path-breaking hard work.
Again, there is parental burden which adds to the pressure of making it big academically, which pushes students ruthlessly towards this menace. Often it is observed that insulting treatment at schools, colleges, workplaces, amongst relatives and family problems lead to drug abuse among youngsters who fail to cope up with the ever-growing personal insults and bad treatments. Workplace burden and enmities with colleagues result in deviance amongst youngsters which later results in disastrous and detrimental effects on the individual.
The present scenario of the Indian society has entirely changed; in the urban areas, the families are getting nuclear; both the parents are working and they are unable to give qualitative time to their kids; the importance of moral values has also hit in the families; elders are getting neglected; children, most of the time, look out of their homes for someone to share and express themselves and this has led to their involvement in wrong peer groups.
Communication, interaction, and understanding among the family members are slowly disappearing and the modern education system has posed a lot of pressure on the students from the poor families. Illiteracy leads to the involvement in unethical actions and bad company of friends.
In such conditions youngsters feel truly alienated; they lose their wisdom and want to get rid of their anxieties, tensions and depression that ultimately show them the way to drugs or substance abuse. They believe that drugs make them forget all their tensions and pressures and make them feel free and devoid of any turmoil; they rather feel better in the numbness caused by the drugs than bearing any tension due to their practical lives.
Vikas, a journalist, in his article titled: “Drug Addiction and Youth in India” says, “The parents, elders and friends should always be careful and alert when they observe the following symptoms in any of their known youngster/child:
Carelessness, reduced interest in studies or work, reduced interaction/communication with others, loss of interest in physical or recreational activities at school/college/workplace/home.
Constant fatigue, irritation, involved in fights, arguments.
Gives a sense of becoming a different person probably a pessimistic.
Get involves in unethical and illegal activities like stealing money, accidents.
Sudden loss of interest in life, appetite, loss of body weight.
Sudden sweating and increased sleeping time.”
Home is a foremost place where a personality is being brought up and the family is the best supporter and the guide for a young child. If the parents try to create an open and a harmonious relationship with the young children of the family then there are less chances of distraction and unethical involvement of the children. But at the later stage when the child has already gone on a wrong path, the responsibility of the family increases.
He further writes, “Let us now, precisely see what solutions can be implemented in order to help the addicted youngster to get rid of his/her addiction for drugs:
1. Personal Will: To get rid of the drug addiction a personal will is required, until and unless the addicted person does not realize that a blunder has been done with his/her life and life should be brought back on the right path, no one else would be able to help that person.
2. Support from Family/Friends: Family members should be compassionate and supportive to the person with drug addiction. With love, care and motivation of the parents and the other family members it would be easier for the addicted youngster to get rid of the addiction. Parents, and close friends should listen to the person with patience and give an affectionate help.
3. Professional Help: Doctors, counsellors or rehabilitators should be consulted in order to help the addicted person because they can assist him/her in a more profound way. There should not be any hesitation in explaining the problem to the doctor/counsellor.”
Drug addiction is a curse for any person because it not only spoils but destroys a life. Youngsters are innocent and they thoroughly need a right guidance, moral education and a healthy environment at their homes, schools and workplace. Parents, teachers and elders should always be empathetic and communicative with the youngsters so that they can easily talk out their issues and feelings, all they need is a good listener and a guide who can hold their hands and show them the right path. If the youngsters are secured and they know that they have some trustworthy people in their lives with whom they can freely express their feelings and problems then their life will be safer.
As per the government report of June 13, 2021, around 62.5% of India’s working age population is aged between 15 and 59 years, ensuring that India will have a demographic advantage all the way to 2055. Due to political apathy and non-conducive atmosphere in family and society, the youth energy is getting dissipated and used for destructive purposes. We need to ensure ‘character building’ at all levels. The drug-addicted youth need support and guidance. Shall we come forward to support and guide them?