We have an addiction problem in India.
In Punjab the numbers are ridiculous—nearly 75% of its youth are severely addicted to drugs, that’s 3 out of every 4 children.
Mumbai, Hyderabad and other cities around the country are quickly gaining a reputation for their drug usage; and the population in each of these cities continues to grow.
Delhi is filled with rehab centres trying to keep up with the flow of addicts. Over 500 centres across our country work together to nurse addicts back into healthy productive lifestyles—but addiction is becoming too much for India.
The menace of drugs and alcohol has woven itself deep into the fabric of our society. As its effects reach towards our youth, India’s future generation will have to compete with drugs like cannabis, alcohol and tobacco.
More Indian youngsters struggle with addiction than ever before. Peer pressure, adolescent immaturity and irresponsible parenting is the three-headed monster luring our children towards addiction and a life of suffering and regret.
Fixing the youth drug problem
Nearly 75% of Indian homes house at least one drug user—usually a parent, and often the father. Experts tell us that children as young as 13 and 14 regularly experiment with intoxicants.
Instead of wondering why our youth are becoming addicts, we should start asking better questions. How do we stop them? How do we keep the stuff out of their little hands and away from their innocent minds?
The answer to these questions are two sided:
1. There needs to be an effort to prevent drug and alcohol addiction.
2. De-Addiction Centres need to focus in on the youth of India.
Although often neglected, we need to give special attention to our young community who have never abused drugs.
The old saying, “Preventing addiction is more effective than curing it,” may seem idealistic, but it demonstrates a mindset that Indians need to adopt. While many programmes aim at presenting alternatives to addicts, we need to remember the community that has never abused drugs.
Creating healthy and attractive alternatives to drug abuse can curb the number of first time users. The United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention recently came out with a handbook to help communities prevent drug abuse. Some basic prevention ideas include:
• Promotion of Health: The community needs to promote healthy lifestyles through personal and cultural practices. By setting an example of health you will discourage damaging and dangerous lifestyles.
• Focus on people and encouragement of social interaction: Promoting social interaction between old and young can only be done in a social environment. Create this environment through organized activities that all ages can partake in.
• Local involvement of young people and respect for cultural values: The activities you chose should focus on young people. Be sure to respect cultural traditions of the community.
• Encouragement of positive alternatives: Develop these alternatives with cultural values in mind, and understanding what appeals to the younger generation.
• Long-term perspective: Don’t be discouraged if results aren’t immediate. Preventing drug use takes time—keeping a long-term perspective is important.
• Community development: Focus on developing the fundamentals of your community. Education, health and social services, housing, sanitation, and income-generating activities are important ideas to focus in on.
Helping our youth come clean
The second side to India’s addiction problem comes in the form of our present addicts. And unfortunately, addiction currently plagues millions of Indians—both young and old.
Solving this problem won’t be easy either, but the solution will come in the form of better youth de-addiction centres. Currently, only 33% of the 580 centres listed on our site offer youth de-addiciton. This statistic must change if India hopes to save its youth.