The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on 7th December, 1987 to observe 26th June as International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The day intends to strengthen the determination of member states towards a drug free society. Every year themes related to anti-drug campaign have been focusing on creating awareness among people and encouraging healthy lifestyle. The theme for this year is ‘Make health your new high in life, not drugs.’
It is estimated approximately 570000 die annually due to drug abuse. Out of which 440000 die due to diseases related to tobacco, 85000 due to alcohol, 20000 due to illicit drugs and 20000 due to prescribed drug abuse. The UN estimates that 5 per cent of the world population has consumed an illegal drug at least once. The cost for treatment of drug abusers is $250 billion every year according to UN. As of today, fewer than one out of 5 people receive treatment. The most common illegal drug that is abused by teenagers is cannabis. The consequences of drug abuse leads to increase in crimes and loss of productivity for many countries. Fiinovation, a research based organization working in the Health sector understands the negative impact of drugs on families of drug abusers. Drugs enhance the risk of HIV infections and pushes people to vulnerabilities. Drug abuse is likely to increase and with the trend of developing countries emulating the developed ones, we have a long way to go.
India has an addiction problem, the menace of drug and alcohol runs deep in our society. The numbers are ridiculous in Punjab with 75 per cent of the youth being addicted to drugs. Cities like Hyderabad, Mumbai and Bangalore are gaining prominence when it comes to drug abuse. The national capital is full of rehabilitation and de-addiction centres. One out of 10 women in India is addicted to drugs.
The problem in India is that there is no sensitization programmes which should be run in schools and colleges to control drug abuse. There is an old saying preventing addiction is more effective than curing it. Fiinovation believes that communities need to create healthy and attractive alternatives to drug abuse that can curb the number of first time users. The national drug control programme in India is working towards prevention of drug abuse. Other programmes like Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse Demonstration Program, Drug Abuse Prevention Programme, introduction of methadone treatment for drug abusers are initiatives to curb the menace of drug abuse. Apart from this Federation of Indian NGOs for Drug Abuse Prevention has been implementing diversified programmes to control drug abuse in India.
As of now, efforts need to be directed towards helping people make informed choices. Everyone needs to take active participation in spreading awareness about the harmful effects of drug abuse. We must work towards curbing cross border trafficking.
The need of the hour is to inspire people to act against drug abuse. Our Future is at stake and there needs to widespread campaigns and some popular anti drug slogans include ‘Stand up to drugs or fall to your knees,’ ‘Don’t Huff, Don’t Puff. Keep away from that stuff’,’ Don’t do Pot, Your brain will rot’ among some others.
By Rahul Choudhury
Media Team – Fiinovation