Need to create more awareness in Schools and Colleges on drug abuse – Dr P V Bhandary
Udupi: There has been a spike in cases of drug abuse, mainly in cities and towns, where youth are addicted to drugs that leads to cancer and destabilizes the self-esteem of addicts. The need of the hour is to shun all drugs to create a healthy society,’ said Dr P V Bhandary, psychiatrist and chief of Dr A V Baliga Hospital.
He was speaking during a Drug Abuse awareness programme organized by the district police to school teachers at SP office Udupi on Saturday, July 13.
Alcohol was the most common psychoactive substance used by Indians followed by cannabis and opioids. 16 crore people in the country consumed alcohol, around 3.1 crore used cannabis and about 77 lakh people took opioids.
1.18 crore people between the age group of 10-75 years were taking sedatives and 77 lakh were using inhalants. Children and adolescents were found to be using inhalants more than others. These statistics were discussed in the Rajya Sabha by our social justice and empowerment minister Thawar Chand Gehlot.
An estimated 208 million people internationally consume illegal drugs. The most commonly used illegal drug is Marijuana. According to the UN 2008 world Drug Report about 3.6% of the world’s population between the ages of 15 and 64 abuse marijuana.
While drugs of abuse such as alcohol, amphetamines, caffeine, cannabis, cocaine, hallucinogens or nicotine can lead to health hazards with heavy personal, economic and social costs, the long-term consequences of abuse include psychotic disorder, mood swings, anxiety, sleep disorder and many other problems.
“Youth have misconceptions on the consumption of alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Some young men think that the consumption of beer makes them fat and develops their personality, which is wrong. Others smoke cigarettes as they think it gives them the “kick” or a “high,” which is wrong”.
“If the youth wanted to get a “high” they should take up physical exercises or go walking. It is usually peer pressures which push many youths to consume alcohol or take to smoking cigarettes. This sometimes leads to the next level — consumption of drugs”.
“Consumption of drugs is like getting into a vicious circle. It is easy to get addicted to drugs. But it is a struggle to give it up,” Dr Bhandary said.
The diagnosis of drug dependence is based on these factors — a strong desire or sense of compulsion, difficulty controlling substance-taking behavior, physiological withdrawal state, tolerance, progressive neglect of alternative pleasures and persisting with use despite clear evidence of harmful consequences, Dr Bhandary explained.
Inaugurating the workshop Hephsiba Rani Korlapati deputy commissioner of Udupi District said that it is necessary to create more awareness so that youth stay away from the menace of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
Udupi SP Nisha James said that the menace of substance abuse was widespread. It was a global epidemic. Drugs business was, perhaps, the third-largest in the world after petroleum and arms industry. It is not just the money that is involved but lives were affected, families are broken and economies shattered. It is essential to reach out to the victims of drug abuse in a different way by creating awareness, strengthening the social structure and creating support groups. It is necessary to create facilities for rehabilitation of people affected and bring them back to the mainstream, she said.
Additional SP Kumarachandra welcomed the gathering, DySP Udupi Jaishanker delivered the vote of thanks.