The drug menace in Northeast India

[ Anupam Rohit ]

The menace of drug addiction has spread fast among the youths of Northeast India. Unfortunately, states like Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Manipur in particular are happy hunting grounds for drug peddlers, and the substance abuse population here is almost 20 percent higher than other states of India.

One of the primary reasons for this is our location near the golden triangle (comprising Thailand, Myanmar and Laos, which is one of the largest drug trade routes in Asia).

Drug addiction refers to the condition of being addicted to a particular drug, particularly narcotic drugs. These are generally illegal drugs that affect the mood and behaviour of a person. Drug addiction is a dreaded social evil in Northeast India. It is the tragedy of our days that millions of youths, the future citizens of India, fall victims to the habit of taking drugs. These addicted people are on the way to a steady and sure death. It is a social evil that affects an individual as well as the nation as a whole.

Those who are addicted to drug-taking lose agility of mind, sense of friendliness, warmth and social awareness. In the long run, they suffer from schizophrenia. They may also suffer persecution mania, an obsession of being tortured. They also develop tendency to commit suicide. Mostly youths residing in hostels fall easy prey to drug addiction. Moreover, new values in the form of sex, drug abuse, and false notion of independence are the new substitutes.

The most disturbing thing about drug addiction is that people in different countries of the world are becoming addicted to all kinds of drugs. There are different types of street drugs, such as cocaine, Schedule 4 pharmaceutical drugs, marijuana, brown sugar, heroin, etc. Heroin is one of the most dangerous drugs that suppresses your heart’s work and is appropriate to achieve narcotic effect.

Drug addiction is basically a disease that changes the functioning of the brain. There is an uncontrollable desire to consume drugs, as a result of which addicted people engage in compulsive behaviour to take drugs. The addicts find it impossible to control the intake of drugs, as a result of which they fail to fulfil day-to-day responsibilities in an efficient manner. Drug addiction is also referred to as drug dependency, as the addict develops dependency on a particular substance.

The most common signs and symptoms of drug addiction are obsession with a particular substance; loss of control over the usage of drugs; abandoning the activities which you used to enjoy, etc.

Drug addiction may have long-term impact on life, and one may develop severe symptoms such as fatigue, trembling, depression, anxiety, headache, insomnia, chills and sweating, paranoia, behaviour changes, dilated pupils, poor coordination problems, nausea, etc.

A lot of people do not realise the damage caused by drug addiction because the short-term effects are not apparent at first. The individual may feel quite invincible and unaware that drugs can actually affect almost every system in the body. The long-lasting effects of drug addiction may not be known to the addict. If treatment is not sought in time, the physical and emotional health of that person will deteriorate.

A lot of people do not understand why people get addicted to drugs and related substances. They mistakenly view drug abuse as a social problem and characterize the addict as a weak person. Though there is no scientific evidence on how exactly drugs work on a brain, it can be successfully treated to help people stop abusing drugs. There are many treatments that help people counteract the disruptive effects of drug addiction and regain complete control over life.

If you or a loved one has been using drugs or alcohol, there is no need to wait until you are absolutely positive there is an addiction present to seek help or to stop using. Addicts are not the only people who benefit when they quit using drugs or drinking. (Anupam Rohit is Project Head, Recovery Wellness Society)