Drug Abuse in the Indian Youth

As the drug epidemic continues to painstakingly seep into the country’s social and cultural aspects, drug abuse naturally trickles into our younger generation – a generation refusing to be left out.

Making up one-fifth of the population, 15-24 year-olds carry with them India’s future. The youth of our nation will eventually determine the country’s moral, political, and social persuasions. Bearing the burden of a densely populated country like India is no small task. And drug abuse does nothing to lighten the load. 1

The youth of our nation has a massive responsibility. And as India’s potential rests delicately in their hands the drug epidemic continues to rage on the sidelines. Just as a single footballer’s attitude and actions can hurt his whole team and cause them to lose the match, illicit drugs have the potential to thwart the success of India’s future.

Teen and Young Adult Drug Use: Problems

“Educational attainment not only affects the economic potential of youth, but also their effectiveness as informed citizens, parents, and family members” says the National Family Health Survey of India (2009). 2

They bring up a good point: education is a vital part of any nation’s philosophy for success. Of course education is important, but education – like so many other ideas in life, is a two way street. If the students don’t end up doing their part in the educational process, the system can quickly backfire.

Public schooling can ironically turn into breeding grounds for addicts. In and out of the classroom, teens and young adults are influenced by the social acceptance of drugs. This lack of personal responsibility, and the general apathy surrounding the issue has filtered down to the youth – creating a normality in drug abuse.

Illicit drug use among the youth, specifically teenagers, presents an impending threat to our nation. The question: why do teens so quickly slip into drug abuse? has troubled Indian scientists and politicians for decades. The answer to impending predicament seems to be two-fold.

Why is drug abuse thriving amongst Indian Youngsters?

Two convincing theories attempt to answer this question. Each presents a viable explanation for the youth drug addiction problem in India. 3

Technical Approach: Based on scientific experimentation

A careful study, accomplished by a group of scientists at the university of Pittsburgh, discovered neuron activity in adolescent rats that might explain the irrationality of some teenagers and young adults.

For many youngsters, rewards are chosen before consequences are considered; the scientific study may reveal the biological root causing this propensity. Their findings offer a scientific explanation as to why adolescents continue to be more vulnerable to drug abuse, alcohol consumption, and smoking.

The research team recorded the brain-cell activity of adults and adolescents as each group performed “reward-driven tasks”. The team documented their findings, and what they discovered wasn’t surprising. The electrode recordings of the adolescent brains reacted with far greater intensity to rewards than the adult’s did.

According to one report, “A frenzy of stimulation occurred with varying intensity throughout the study along with a greater degree of disorganization in adolescent brains. The brains of adult rats, on the other hand, processed their prizes with a consistent balance of excitation and inhibition.” The lead researcher, Bita Moghaddam (professor of neuroscience), said the radical difference in brain activity provides possible physiological explanation as to why youngsters are more prone to experiment with drugs. 4

“The disorganized and excess excitatory activity we saw in… the brain means that reward and other stimuli are processed differently by adolescents,” Moghaddam said. 5

Practical approach: Based on peer pressure and curiosity

Usually it starts off innocently enough. Children grow older and reach the teenage and young adult stages of life. With age, the parents’ influence often diminishes, and as part of life’s natural progression, youngsters are influenced more and more by their peers.

Many detailed studies have shown the worrisome aspects of peer pressure. As one of the most powerful tools used to sway youngsters towards drug addiction – peer pressure in the area of drug abuse can begin as early as junior high.

One major youth drug addiction study declares, “In India, the majority (of addicts) became hooked on drugs after friends introduced drugs to them.” The study goes on to report that an additional 35% of subjects interviewed became addicted after trying out drugs for fun and out of curiosity.

Youth De-addiction Centres

Currently in India more youngsters discover themselves addicted to drugs than ever before. As a result, de-addiction centres are incorporating “youth specific” programs into their centres. These youth rehabilitation opportunities can be very beneficial, and often make strides towards a future of total abstinence.

De-Addiction Centres contains a growing directory of Youth De-addiciton centres. Discover a centre that could change you or your loved one’s life.

Helpful youth addiction articles:

Notes:

  1. http://www.measuredhs.com/pubs/pdf/OD59/OD59.pdf
  2. http://www.measuredhs.com/pubs/pdf/OD59/OD59.pdf
  3. http://azadindia.org/social-issues/Drug-Abuse-in-India.html
  4. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-01-27/health/28356968_1_brain-region-neurons-orbitofrontal-cortex
  5. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-01-27/health/28356968_1_brain-region-neurons-orbitofrontal-cortex
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