M A I N   N E W S

Getting drugs easier in jail!
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Tarn Taran, February 25
“It’s easier to procure drugs inside a jail than outside,” said 23-year-old Balkar Singh (name changed), a drug addict from Amritsar. Balkar was held with drugs and had to spend over four months in the Central Jail, Amritsar.

“In the jail, there is never any shortage of drugs. There is a well-oiled system of peddling drugs inside the jail. Some of the inmates are involved in it. These are mainly persons accused of serious crimes and have been inside the jail for many years. They earn money by selling drugs to other inmates,” he said.

Balkar’s father died while he was a young child and his mother works at an embroidery shop in Amritsar city. “I started taking drugs after school. I was good in studies but fell in bad company. Initially, when my friends asked me to try some capsules, I thought I would be able to leave whenever I wanted, but in just a few weeks I was completely addicted to these drugs. I would force my mother to give me money so that I could feed my habit. My friends and I would meet in narrow streets and take injections. We were caught by the police with drugs and I was lodged in jail,” he said.

Balkar, now detoxified after a 15-day stint at the Civil Hospital drug de-addiction centre, says his habit got worse in jail. “For a drug addict, jail is a haven. Drugs are so easily available. At home, we would have to take risks to find a peddler and would always be scared that we would be caught. In the jail, all we had to do was buy drugs from other inmates. There was a free flow of drugs and no one seemed to check peddlers, though I am not sure if the authorities were themselves involved in the sale of drugs inside the jail,” he said.

Balkar and several other inmates had managed to carry cellphones inside the jail. “These “blackiyas” who sold us drugs also had cellphones and they used these to get fresh supplies. I would call my mother to get money. I would tell her that I am bribing the authorities for better facilities for myself and need cash. She would somehow arrange money and smuggle it to me,” he said.

Other than supplying capsules, smack and even heroin to those who were already on drugs, these “blackiyas”, as Balkar referred to them, also sold drugs to the uninitiated. “The jail is the perfect environment to start taking drugs as also get into so many new wrong things. None of the inmates has anything much to do. The boy whom I befriended also started taking drugs with me,” he said. “When I came out of the jail I was a hardcore addict and told my mother that I am already on the road to death. I was jobless and had made a mess of my life. At that stage, when I thought that everything had been lost, my maternal uncle decided to bring me to the de-addiction centre here. I have been here for more than 20 days and have decided to never touch drugs again,” he said.



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