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Posted at: Sep 10, 2017, 12:47 AM; last updated: Sep 10, 2017, 12:47 AM (IST)

Drugs grip Haryana youth

Sunit Dhawan in Rohtak
Cases of depression show an upward trend as state agencies want govt to take proactive steps
Sunit Dhawan in Rohtak

  • Anuj (not his real name), a shopkeeper, started having alcohol occasionally with his friends for enjoyment at a young age. The amount and frequency of consumption increased as he faced domestic conflicts. Gradually, he slipped into depression and even developed suicidal tendency. As of now, he is undergoing treatment at a de-addiction centre and has started showing signs of improvement in his health and family affairs.
  • Subodh (name changed), took up a driving job. He started consuming opium and soon became addicted to it. He left the job, but the addiction persisted. He forced his mother, a retired schoolteacher, to give him money. When she denied, he started borrowing money from outsiders. He tried to shun the habit under family pressure, but it was not easy as he started having withdrawal symptoms. His family then took him to a de-addiction centre, where he is undergoing treatment and showing improvement.
DESHA main des Haryana, known for its doodh dahi ka khana, not only shares its border with Punjab, but also the problem of increasing drug addiction among youth.   

Like its neighbouring state, the number of patients, especially youngsters, coming to the de-addiction centres for treatment has witnessed a steady increase over the past few years and become a big concern for the state leadership and authorities concerned.

Frustration arising from unemployment, family pressure, a tendency to escape challenging situations, bad company, easy availability of alcohol and intoxicants are considered the major factors behind the alarming trend.

“In view of the prevailing situation, the Haryana government has upgraded our Drug De-addiction Centre to State Drug Dependence Treatment Centre. The infrastructure, staff position and other resources are being created, strengthened and expanded. We are trying our best, but the best results can be achieved only when people from all walks of life realize their responsibility towards eradication of drug menace,” says Dr Rajiv Gupta, Director-cum-CEO of the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) at Rohtak.

While the cases of addiction to alcohol registered at the centre have shown a constant increase over the recent years, those pertaining to narcotic drugs, opioids, cannabinoids, tobacco and sedatives are also on the rise.

The number of patients registered at the centre, which was 448 in 2007, reached 3,707 in 2016. This year so far, the number of patients registered at the centre has already crossed the 2,500 mark in the first seven months.

“It should be clearly understood that the consumption of drugs has various socio-economic fallouts as well. When an addict craves for a drug, he indulges in anti-social activities which may range from petty crimes like loot and snatching to heinous ones like murder,” observes Dr Gupta.

He states that breaking the supply chain, coupled with social awareness and proactive approach of the civil society, can provide a lasting solution to the peril of drugs. 

He points out that the prevalence of rave parties in areas like Gurugram and other parts of the NCR and consumption of synthetic and designer drugs is an alarming trend.

NS Deswal, Project Director at the Red Cross Centre for De-addiction and Rehabilitation, maintains that several medical drugs, including injections, tablets, capsules and syrups, which should be given only on a registered doctor's prescription, are being sold at exorbitant rates, which should be checked.

He says the youth being gripped by the menace of drugs and alcohol is a cause of concern as it leads to depression and suicides, besides a spurt in the crime graph.

Dr Devender Sangwan, a psychiatrist specializing in de-addiction, asserts that an increasing number of youths, who had got used to alcohol, are now getting attracted to narcotic drugs for instant kick, which is an alarming sign.

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