INDIA'S SILENT ADDICTION: Bangalore's drug abuse

The meaning of the word “high” has progressed over time, we generally associate the word high with the emotion of excitement or joy or a sugar rush. However, there is a new kind of 'high' that we have come across more and more of in the past couple of years - drug high.

When we do something we enjoy, such as eating good food or playing video games, our brain sends feel-good signals that tell us to repeat it. This is called the reward system. Alcohol and drugs work right on this reward system in the brain; once activated, they put it into high gear. This is why many people develop an addiction to drugs since rewarding feelings are what decides our behavior.

Regardless of well-known risks associated with this silent killer, people get addicted to drugs owing to our reward system.

While possessing illegal nature, the presence of drugs has never just been limited to being an underworld phenomenon, it has made it to the top of the food chain. We're either victims of its use or fighting an already defeated battle against the increased supply of drugs because it has spread far enough for it to succeed in its utilization in every corner. While countries such as Canada, Jamaica, Spain, Switzerland have legalized marijuana, also known as “weed” to the general public, the usage of artificial chemicals and psychotropic substances still remains largely illegal.

In accordance with the larger trend, the Indian government, however, strongly opposes the use of “weed” or other drugs like opium seeds, but we all are aware of the horrible conditions that prevail in Punjab, the state that takes the lead in drug trafficking and usage. It is not surprising that Maharashtra is ranked second, followed by Delhi. Additionally, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are also becoming victims of the present vicious trend. The state of Punjab, on the other hand, has managed to maintain its position in the top spot since 2012, while being the state with the greatest drug trafficking. Most of us are familiar with or have seen the controversial movie ‘Udta Punjab’, which chronicles the drug trade in Punjab. Although many have mentioned that the truth wasn’t any distinct from the movie, Punjab is not far behind the scenes depicted in the movie when it comes to the current conditions. The movie had many restrictions from the censor board, but it still saw the light of day in the movie theatres in 2016, spreading awareness of the extremely harmful effects of these drugs on the physical and mental health of a human being.

India's Silicon Valley, also known as Bengaluru, makes the news for a wide range of reasons almost every day. However, the city’s trend since the last 2 decades has become notorious for its excessive use of chemical drugs. In the past few months, several hundred drug dealers have been arrested in the city. Among all those arrested, marijuana or weed dealers accounted for the majority. The lack of effective implementation and enforcement of the laws has led to this outcome. It may appear that the grass is greener within the Garden city along the drug lines. Since the number of bursts in the drug market has risen substantially, it is likely that the laws on drugs in Karnataka will be strengthened. The drugs seized now, according to the results, have been marijuana, but according to reports, spies, and other reliable sources, other deadly drugs have also found their way into the blood of the youth via the Indian black market, including cocaine, MD, Ecstasy, and heroin.

When these chemical-infused drugs reached children in schools, the situation deteriorated and took a darker turn. These grisly details first appeared in newspapers in early February of 2017. Some 11 -12-year-old students have been hooked on what’s referred to colloquially as “Ganja” and a lot of them are still hooked today. To raise awareness among young adults, these schools teamed up with local authorities, utilizing social media for communication and awareness.

Approximately 30% of students in Bangalore suffer from drug addiction against the general addict growth rate of 15%. Students taking high school or college courses, as well as engineers and medical students, fall under this category Peddling drugs are prevalent in small shops situated near reputable schools.

Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Bengaluru, has busted an increasing number of drug rackets in the past two years, an indication that the city is experiencing serious drug abuse issues.

With an eye towards the near future, Bangalore is on course towards a tragic scenario that is about to unfold. The pattern for the usage of these drugs clearly indicates that it is not only the youth who are driven towards these substances, but this wildfire has also reached innocent children. Synthetic drugs are extremely expensive for youngsters to afford, so there is a danger of them being abused by teenagers and adults alike. This endless and crippling pit of addiction is often not escapable for them due to heightened work pressure, depression, anxiety, and peer pressure.

Prof. Vivek Benegal is an associate professor at NIHMANS who specializes in substance abuse disorders, neurobiology, and genetics of addiction. Approximately 90% of adolescents with drug and alcohol problems have an underlying mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression, according to Benegal. To treat these symptoms is ineffective while the studies continue to show there are many adolescents with underlying mental health disorders. We need to get this message to youth so they stop feeling guilty. Parents need to stop blaming themselves, and psychiatrists must move beyond pharmacological therapy and incorporate psychotherapeutic interventions", explains Benegal.

Life skills classes are set to become mandatory in schools across Bangalore, which is a positive development. Some, however, will experience short-term changes unless a drug rehabilitation program is also offered.

As an example, in the movement to eradicate drug abuse, this year's Karnataka government chose to burn drugs worth Rs. 50 crores to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which is observed on 26 June and laid special emphasis on marijuana, opium, heroin, LSD strips and other illicit narcotics.

The aforementioned course of discussion sheds light on a problematic affair and calls for us to remember as individuals, a responsibility to create awareness and encourage actions to mitigate the worrisome issue at hand.


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