By Sahibzada Hussain Mohi-ud-Din Qadri
Drugs addiction is harmful not only for the addicted but also has negative impact
on the fabric of the society. The effects of such an addiction can cause dangerous
changes in the mind, body and spirit of the drug addict. The most disturbing aspect
of drug addiction is that it is reaching epidemic proportions in the whole world.
People in our part of the world are increasingly becoming addicted to all kinds
of drugs including street drugs and prescription drugs etc.
Street drugs include cocaine, heroin and crack, marijuana and meth, while prescription
drugs include those such as Valium, OxyContin, Percocet and Ritalin etc. The price
of drugs can be very heavy. Simple ill-effects of such addiction include physical
itchiness, coma and even premature death. On the other hand, the psychological ill
effects can make a person become completely dependent on taking drugs in order to
Drugs addiction is a very serious problem and even if the addict is using prescribed
drugs, the ill effects can be very harmful indeed. It is, therefore, important that
the government takes administrative, legal and policy measures that put an end to
the menace of drug addiction. The right kind of information can help the addict
avoid overdosing and it can also prevent medical-related complications.
The ill effects of addiction to drugs can be very difficult to endure, which
is why the addict must be treated for their condition at the earliest. A lot of
research is being done on how addiction to drugs harms people and societies. An
individual that takes drugs will expect certain changes to take place in his being.
In the US, addiction to drugs is quite widespread. One study on this problem
revealed that one in every five American aged between sixteen and fifty nine had
used at least one drug. What’s more is that about half (46 percent) of Americans,
aged between 16 and 21, admitted having used drugs in different phases of their
life. Even moreworrying is the fact that approximately twenty million people, aged
above twelve years, have used illegal drugs in the US. In fact, about 1.47 percent
of Americans are addicted to drugs.
North America, which includes USA and Canada and even Mexico, has a major drugs
addiction problem. The problem is no less dangerous in Central America where countries
such as Belize, Guatemala and Nicaragua are major centres for drug abuse.
Drugs addiction in Pakistan is no less worrisome. Though its neighbours (India,
Bangladesh and Maldives as well as Nepal) all have drugs addiction issues, Pakistan
is the worst affected throughout South Asia. It is, after all, home to the largest
market for heroin consumption. What’s more, Pakistan is also a major exporter of
heroin and in fact, approximately fifty tons of opium is illegally brought into
Pakistan to produce heroin. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and
even Sri Lanka are confronted with drug-related issues where a good number of people
are addicted to various forms of drugs.
The worst thing about being addicted to drugs is that it is affecting the youth
in every part of the world in a major way. The trouble starts among the school-going
children but the problem is exacerbated with abetment by those who wish to earn
money out of selling drugs. The problem among children and youth arises because
of a perception that they seem to harbour the notion of their inadequacy for failing
to measure up to their expectations of their elders. Nowadays it has become fashionable
for the actors and singers to include tales of drugs addiction and sexual references
in their music. So instead of inculcating good values in the youth, the entertainment
industry isresponsible for propagating the use of drugs, which is further fuelling
the addiction to drugs in the both the developed and developing world.
The youth has become the target of major drug peddlers. These peddlers sell drugs
and package them as symbols of revolution and freshness but have no regard for the
consequences of their actions. The youth that takes to drugs are more likely to
commit suicide because of the harmful effects of the drugs they are taking. Misinformation
about drugs is another reason for these deaths as the addict or user may take the
drugs in wrong doses, which can then lead to a fatality.
Drugs addiction among the youth is killing them morally and socially as well
as psychologically and even physically. And, drug barons are becoming increasingly
wealthier by supplying these drugs that are causing untold misery.
It is time that societies and the governments took a firm stand on preventing
the drug addiction through a mix of reforms. There should be a community plan that
should be implemented to stop addiction to drugs. This plan must identify the specific
drugs that youth are using. It should build on existing resources such as existing
drug abuseprevention programs and it should also develop short-term goals relevant
to proper implementation of research- based drug abuse prevention programs.
In addition, the community plan must project its long term objectives to ensure
that resources are made available and in addition, the community plan must also
incorporate ongoing assessments to evaluate the effectiveness of their preventive
measures and strategies.
In fact, all preventive measures need to address different forms of drug abuse
and addiction and should also target different types of drug abuse and addictions.
It should also be tailored to address risks that are specific to certain populations
or audience characteristics. It must be aimed at specific populations and at major
transition points such as at middle-school level.
Unless serious measures are taken now, the very future of a large chunk of today’s
youth will be severely compromised. The problem of drug addiction is too real and
serious to be ignored. The governments need to involve communities and media in
highlighting the perils associated with the drug addiction. Media has a responsibility
tohighlight such issues with a view to educating people and building a consensus
among them to forge a united stand against such scourges. The perpetrators of doom
and gloom are well entrenched in the power structures and have formed transnational
partnerships for their nefarious purposes. The response to deal with such an organized
menace should also be concerted for effective output. It calls for sustained engagement
and coordinated action among countries. Individual efforts cannot produce desired
results. For long have we have turned a blind eye to such critical issues. It is
now time to be responsible in our actions.
(The writer is Australia-based PhD scholar)