Sandeep (name changed) has been taking smack since he was a kid. His parents died early and he believes that since then, heroin is all that he has. There are many youths like him in North India where the drug epidemic is growing. The streets of Aswarpur, his village in rural Haryana is one such place.
The alcohol and drug abuse is growing so rampantly that this story doesn’t surprise anyone. There are many youngsters like Sandeep who first took to alcohol and then ended up abusing low-quality heroin or as it is commonly referred to ‘smack’. But what is new now is that it isn’t just the rural areas of North India that are suffering. The epidemic has reached the financial capital Mumbai and IT Hub Hyderabad too.
If one sees now, then there is no locality or region which is completely immune to the substance dependency. Indians have been dealing with the problems in the same redundant way ‘ban it’. But by banning and thereby stigmatizing all substances no one is really helping the victim.
The truth of all is that prohibition as deterrence has been one of the least successful endeavors against addiction. But there is some thing that can help the victims. Poland’s population was getting addicted to heroin in 2001. The country brought some radical policy changes and the figure dropped by 50%.
The government made sure that victims weren’t treated as animals but as addicts in need of help and rehabilitation. So they provided them with counseling through social workers and psychiatrists. They used funds that were used to imprison addicts. The money was utilized in treating them. And in India as well, many parents are actually looking after their children who have become drug addicts. They are admitting them to the best rehab in India to get some fine treatment.
This nuanced and comprehensive rehabilitation program made sure that the addicts didn’t go back to the addiction again and there was no relapse. Portugal now boasts one of the lowest drug usage rates across Europe.