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Drugs: How they are polluting the Indian youth and what should be done
Posted on Oct 21, 2015
These days, drugs can be found everywhere, and it may seem like everyone's doing them. Lots of people are tempted by the excitement or escape that drugs seem to offer.

Drugs are chemicals or substances that change the way our bodies work. When you put them into your body (often by swallowing, inhaling, or injecting them), drugs find their way into your bloodstream and are transported to parts of your body, such as your brain. In the brain, drugs may intensify or dull your senses, alter your sense of alertness, and sometimes decrease physical pain.

A drug may be helpful or harmful. The effects of drugs can vary depending upon the kind of drug taken, how much is taken, how often it is used, how quickly it gets to the brain, and what other drugs, food, or substances are taken at the same time. Effects can also vary based on the differences in body size, shape, and chemistry.

Although substances can feel good at first, they can ultimately do a lot of harm to the body and brain. Drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, taking illegal drugs, and sniffing glue can all cause serious damage to the human body. Some drugs severely impair a person's ability to make healthy choices and decisions. Teenagers, who drink, for example, are more likely to get involved in dangerous situations, such as driving under the influence or having unprotected sex.

What’s astonishing is that India too is caught in this vicious circle of drug abuse, and the numbers of drug addicts are increasing day by day. The youths are topping the charts for the wrong reasons. According to a UN report, One million heroin addicts are registered in India, and unofficially there are as many as five million. What started off as casual use among a minuscule population of high-income group youth in the metro has permeated to all sections of society.

Every now and then we read in the newspapers that teens are being held for consuming drugs and most of them are usually aged 17-20. Recently many college-going boys and girls were hauled up by the police involved in the case of drug consumption in a rave party. The alarming rate of drug abuse has always been a problem in India and especially the increase of drug abuse among youngsters has had detrimental effects on the society.

So what leads to drug addiction?

Sheer pressure of studies on students might be one of the few cases which results in substance abuse among the youngsters. The educational system nowadays is very competitive and lacks flexibility with lakhs of students appearing for few thousand seats. Again there is always a parental burden which adds to the pressure of making it big academically.

Personal and family problems also leads to drug abuse among youngsters who fail to cope up with the ever-growing family and personal problems. Workplace pressure and issues with the colleagues results in workplace deviance which later results in detrimental effects on the individual.

The adolescence situation is often the cause of such unproductive activities. The friend’s circle in which a young individual stays also influences his/her activities. A boy/girl who has a company of friends who are into drugs and alcohol tends to repeat the same an attempt to be an active member of the peer group which often results in addiction of the same leading to many unproductive activities in future of the youngsters.

It might begin with experimenting. A friend or your loved one’s must have tried it once out of curiosity because of friends or just to cope up with a problem. In the early stages, one might really find it helpful to erase some problems or make one’s life better, which leads to more and more consumption of drugs. But as addiction reaches a step further, it becomes more of a need rather than just a problem solver. Even for simple petty issues which can be solved will result in drug abuse because one is so used to it that without consumption of the same, one just cannot think of anything. 

Signs which parents or family members should look out for

Although there are different types of drugs, but the effects and the symptoms are more or less the same, irrespective of the kind of drug consumed. Some of the common signs which indicate that an individual is engaged with the process of drug abuse include:
  • Neglecting responsibilities at workplace, school, colleges or at home like skipping your tuition classes, low performance academically and staying away or alone for most of the time.
  • It results in indifferences in relationships of an individual such as fights with your family members or your partner, losing a good old friend etc.
  • Change in behavioural attitude such as not being the same person when being with friends or family or partner.
  • Losing temper easily and getting into nasty things for petty issues.
  • Frequently getting into fights, accidents and illegal activities.
  • Lack of motivation, feeling lethargic.
  • Sudden Loss of appetite and weight. Loss of sleep patterns. Anxiety and irritation.

How ‘Meow Meow’ drug is aggravating the situation?

Indian youngsters are high on ‘Meow Meow’, a new drug on the block. Metropolitan’s rave scene is getting hooked to the new drug, and the country’s bands are said to be heavily into it. Why the drug is fast gaining popularity is that it can be ordered online and will be delivered to your doorstep. The drug is not in the list of banned drugs under the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NCB) Act, 1958.

In the last two months, Drug Abuse Information, Rehabilitation and Research Centre (DAIRRC) have received 30 cases of “meow meow” addiction, of the total 40 cases received. Dr Yusuf Merchant, the president of DAIRRC, said that most cases were in the age group of 16-26 years, with twelve of them being women.

According to Dr Merchant, “meow meow” is mephedrone, a powerful recreational drug that addicts take for effects similar to amphetamines and ecstasy. Mephedrone also has medicinal value and is used as an anaesthetic. “If not controlled immediately, “meow meow” will hit an epidemic proportion, as it is legally sold in India. This drug (meow) is terrible, and probably the worst in my 33 years of experience in running drug rehabilitation centre. The government should immediately put this dangerous chemical under the NDPS Act and law-enforcing agencies must call in for a crackdown,” said Merchant.

The drug costs Rs 150 per gram, which is much cheaper than cocaine, which costs at least Rs 3,000 per gram. Unlike other drugs which are bought from peddlers and dealers, “meow meow” can be ordered online via Internet pharmacy websites. Once payment is received, it is supplied at the customer’s address. It is also sold in few grams as plant fertilisers, to avoid scrutiny from law enforcers.

“Mephedrone users enjoy increased energy, self-confidence and talkativeness, euphoria, mental and physical stimulation, an enhanced sense of touch and empathy and a bit of sensory distortion. They also frequently enjoy a strong craving for more of the drug. It appears as a white or off-white powder, which is primarily either snorted or swallowed. It is usually mistaken for cocaine. When mephedrone (meow meow) is snorted, it only takes a few minutes to take effect. When swallowed, its effects can take more than half an hour to show up.” Dr Merchant added.

Side effects of ‘Meow Meow’ drug

Like other drugs, even mephedrone has side effects like loss of appetite, muscle clenching and tremors, headache, anxiety, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, fast/irregular heartbeat, difficulty in urinating, changes in body temperature and blue/cold fingers.

How can one stop the addiction to lead a normal peaceful life?

Half the problem is resolved when one shows the desire to give up addiction. One must speak up about his/her problem to someone who would understand and try to get him/her out of the problem. One may try to put restrictions on oneself to stop the drug abuse, rely on self help programs, but without support, it would be really difficult to put an end to it. Support might come from:
  • Family Members
  • Friends
  • Doctors or counsellors
  • People who had the same problem but recovered

Support from family members is a must as they are the closest source to the individual. Family should support their child to understand what he/she is going through and what compelled them to take such a risky step. Parents should try to motivate their children and understand what they really want in life. Every child is different from the other and parents should really try to understand their children’s expectation to avoid any cases related to alcohol or drug abuse.
Written by : Lazoi Team
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