Our valley that is going through turmoil for almost last three decades has witnessed alarming increase in drug abuse
Famous Bollywood legend, late Dev Anand writes in his autobiography, Romancing with Life, ‘Youth is the biggest asset of a nation ‘. Undoubtedly, youth is the most precious resource among different resources available to a nation. This human resource is full of zeal, zest, passion, energy and enthusiasm. They can touch skies and explore the bosoms of oceans and earth. But, any wrong direction can prove detrimental for them as well as for the whole society. So, right guidance and counseling is necessary to channelize the energies and capacities of this important human resource. History is a witness to the fact that young people have been instrumental in the success and elevations of nations and societies. The people of this age group are productive and energetic. But, the people of this age group are highly susceptible to dangerous habits and addictions. And drug abuse is on such evil which is spreading like a wild fire across the globe. People between the age group of 16 to 25 are the worst hit victims of this menace. With the advent of internet, the incidence of drug abuse has assumed alarming proportions. People have easy access to different kinds of stuff around them.
The journey starts with sniffing different things like boot polishes, whiteners, thinners, fevicol etc. And finally, reaches to Marijuana, cocaine, hemp, cannabis and heroin. Once a person is caught in the quagmire of this deadly addiction, he/she can't escape from its clutches. The preliminary euphoric feelings sink a person so deep into this poisonous ocean that he/she is buried deep into it forever. The traders of death visit Schools and Colleges because they know that they can wheedle the students reading in these Institutions. An important question pops into one’s mind that why do people resort to drug abuse? There are multiple factors responsible for it. Family status, your company, socio-economic issues, flawed parenting, pressure of examinations, peer group competition, expectations of parents and other things lead a person to take drugs. Even many fall prey to it accidentally.
Our valley that is going through turmoil for almost last three decades, has witnessed alarming increase in drug abuse. According to researchers, 60% to 70% students of Kashmir valley are making use of narcotic drugs. 40% youth of total population of our state is addicted to drug abuse. The girls are not far behind the boys here. Uncertainty and insecurity of conflict zone is a big reason behind the rise in drug peddling and trafficking. Violence has given scars to youth. Many have lost fathers to violence and many have lost mothers as well. The dejected souls find ultimate solace in drugs which is no more than an illusion. Thus, violence is a big factor responsible for its alarming spread.
Unemployment is another possible reason which forces youth to go for drugs. Unemployment mars the aspirations of youth. Many qualified and meritorious students become the easy target of drugs because the political regimes fail to provide them with a job. And who is not aware about the unemployment scenario in our state. Turmoil has turned our youth fragile, and the growing unemployment has made them highly vulnerable to drug abuse. But, our qualified and unqualified youth should not lose hope. They should not jump into the blazing flames of drug abuse. Strong will-power and family support can help a person to reduce anxiety levels. And we should look beyond the government jobs to earn through other respectable ways.
Broken family life gives tough times to many people. Separate parents and domestic violence is yet another cause which enslaves people to drug abuse. Children of separated couples are more vulnerable to drugs. Many parents are so busy in the mad race of money and wealth that they neglect their children to the extent where there is no possible escape for them. These parents hardly bother to spend some time with their children in order to know their aspirations and longings. Parents should keep close intimacy with their children. They should be their friends, guides and councilors. Teens should be taught about drugs and their deadly consequences. If you notice mood swings, preference for solitude, avoiding Schools in your children, then you must talk to your children to overrule any possibility of drug abuse.
Bad company is another important factor pushing people into the hell of drug abuse. Schools, Colleges and coaching Institutions are the places where students get acquainted with these poisonous substances. So, the role of parents and teachers is doubled here. Teachers and parents should aware their wards about the possibilities of falling prey to bad company. Smart phones, personal computers and contacts of teens should be checked by the parents. Children should not be allowed to go for frequent outings.
Peer group competition and expectations of parents are also responsible for drug abuse in teens. Teachers should not discriminate students in the name of intelligence and performance. Low performers should be encouraged in the classroom, and there must not be any differential approach adopted by teachers. Parents should not expect their children to fulfill the dreams they couldn't interpret. Children have their own aspirations, interests and proficiencies. We should not thrust our own aspirations on them. It increases to stress and anxiety levels in children. Stress and anxiety leads to depression which forces teens to look for drugs. Love and marital affairs are also responsible to some extent.
Easy access to available drugs like cannabis and poppy is one potential reason. Locally available drugs stimulate young people to taste these drugs, and with the passage of time, they become so habitual of it that they become addicts. So, the cultivation and cannabis and poppy should not be encouraged. People are growing poison for their own children in their lawns, orchards and fields. Let us pledge to make our surroundings clean and pure so that our toddlers will grow up in a healthy environment.
Orators and our Imams should not confine the domain of Islam to worships and religious rituals. Pulpits of Mosques should be the places of mass awareness. Our Imams should educate people about different evils including drug menace. Teachers have a bigger role to play. Particularly those in high and higher secondary Schools because the teens are more vulnerable to drug abuse and other related evils. Parents should spend good time with their children. Money and wealth is not sufficient for the welfare of our wards. It is rather our vigil and care which can help us to build the safe and happy future for our children.
It is our collective responsibility to take necessary measures to save our future generations from the clutches of drugs and other social evils. Let authorities particularly police and excise department implement the legislation in letter and spirit. The scenario is going from bad to worse. Any further negligence can prove calamitous to our collective existence. Let us hope to uphold our morals and ethos to make the world a beautiful place to live in and Say no to drugs.
(Author is a Teacher and Columnist)