Drugs a disease, so view addicts as patients rather than as nuisance | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Sep 22, 2017-Friday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Drugs a disease, so view addicts as patients rather than as nuisance

As drug addicts get involved in crime and neglect studies, they can’t hold a job, which keeps them in the bad habit. The ruling party would say the problem has not become severe in just the past seven years of its regime, while the experts who disagree recommend only one medicine, which is to empower the youth.

chandigarh Updated: Jan 14, 2015 19:51 IST
HT Correspondents

Centre should send us money

Parminder Dhindsa,
Punjab finance minister

How grave is the drug problem in Punjab?

Drug problem is not Punjab-specific. Facts have been twisted to show that Punjab has become a drug haven. We have forgotten that it is an issue of international importance. Just as we can’t single out a country for prevalence of drugs, we should also not single out any state.

What specific steps should the governments, both the state and the Centre, take to tackle it?

The state and the Centre should work out a strategy against drugs together and define their roles. What the states can do is create mass awareness and making it mandatory to teach students about the bad effects of drug abuse. The Centre should send us money to hire doctors, build rehabilitation centres, and update the BSF infrastructure.

What can the political parties and society do to deal with the drug scourge?

Political parties should not play blame game, as it is not one state’s problem. Drug abuse in Punjab has not become severe in just the past seven years. Fighting it is the duty of every party. The social, religious and political leaders should ask their followers to be volunteers in this war. Panchayats and youth clubs can keep youth away from drugs.


Don’t shield the leaders involved

Kuljit Singh Nagra,
Cong MLA, Fatehgarh Sahib

How grave is the drug problem in Punjab?

Our leader Rahul Gandhi was the first to highlight the enormity of it in public. The Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party criticised him initially for talking so strongly against it but realized the extent of it after Arun Jaitley lost the Lok Sabha poll from Amritsar on the issue.

What specific steps should the governments, both the state and the Centre, take to tackle it?

The state should check drug smuggling within Punjab, and the Centre should seize substance coming from across the border. Both need to go after smugglers and distributors. A mass awareness campaign against liquor and drug abuse is most required. The government should not shield its leaders that are involved in drug trade.

What can the political parties and society do to deal with the drug scourge?

It is the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) that does politics on the drug issue. It has even criticised the Congress for bringing the issue into the public domain. The problem will go only once the people of Punjab vote out the Akali-BJP regime that let the drug trade flourish. A mass movement against the menace can also help.

Drug problem made in state

Mohit Gupta,
state BJYM president

How grave is the drug problem in Punjab?

The problem is very grave. The youth of Punjab are being ruined and the menace also leading to law and order problems. Drug addicts get involved in crime to arrange money to buy drugs. The habit is taking then away from studies, because of which they are not getting jobs.

What specific steps should the governments, both the state and the Centre, take to tackle it?

It’s a state-level problem that should be solved at the state level only. If drugs are coming from the other states, why is drug abuse not a menace there? Even if drugs are being smuggled from across the border, police can at least catch the smugglers in the state’s jurisdiction. Synthetic drugs manufactured in the state are the problem.

What can the political parties and society do to deal with the drug scourge?

Political parties and society have a big role in creating mass awareness against drugs, which I think the Bharatiya Janata Party and its sister organisations are doing very well. The habit of drugsis because of the influence ofthe western culture, and weneed to get our children out ofit by passing on to them thetraditional Indian values.

Empower village youth to be leaders

Manjit singh Kang,
former PAU vice-chancellor

How grave is the drug problem in Punjab?

Several years ago, a university survey commissioned by the state government concluded that 70% Punjabi youth were on drugs. Include alcohol usage and the percentage is over 90. The state has over 8,000 liquor stores, and between 2005 and 2010, the consumption jumped by 59%.


What specific steps should the governments, both the state and the Centre, take to tackle it?

New York Times wrote in April 2012: “Schoolboys (in Punjab) sometimes eat small black balls of opium paste with tea before classes. Synthetic drugs are popular among those too poor to afford heroin.” The drug problem is too big for panchayats to handle alone. The state government has to create jobs and ensure that drug are not available easily.

What can the political parties and society do to deal with the drug scourge?

Punjab reportedly has the second most underemployed workforce in India. Only 45% people are fully employed here. Monitor liquor stores closely to keep underage youth away from drinking. Political parties shouldn’tdistribute drugs during elections. Empower youth to take leadership roles in village panchayats to help Punjab regain its glory.


Prescription drugs the real problem

Gurbachan jagat,
former BSF director general

How grave is the drug problem in Punjab?

I have come back after being out of Punjab for several years, and I am shocked at the extent of the problem now. The Punjab youth are into rampant abuse of prescription medicines. I think a section of the lower-rung police force, however, is not having health problems because of this.


What specific steps should the governments, both the state and the Centre, take to tackle it?

While the borders should be sealed to check drug smuggling, the state government should realise that the real problem is not heroin—most of which makes way to the Northeast and then out of the country—but medicines available over the counter. These are manufactured in small units that are run locally. Attention needs to be on this.

What can the political parties and society do to deal with the drug scourge?

The first step for the politicians should be to accept the problem and separate it from the politics of it all. The political parties should come together and concentrate their efforts on controlling the availability of over-the-counter medicines without prescription; and, on the social front, they have to generate awareness and employment.


Bring youth into games

Sardar Singh
Indian hockey captain

How grave is the drug problem in Punjab?

The youth in the rural areas especially are worst-affected. Whenever we travel to the state, we hear stories of young lives ravaged by drugs. Many of the people I know complain that the family’s youth are falling into the habit. Sport can channelise youth energy productively.

What specific steps should the governments, both the state and the Centre, take to tackle it?

The government should focus on running sports centres in the villages. If youth remain busy in sports and workout activities in the morning and evening, they wouldn’t get time to be distracted. Apart from this, there should also be proper vigil to check the drug menace. All those who are part of this racket should be put behind bars.

What can the political parties and society do to deal with the drug scourge?

The political parties should give proper attention to addressing the problems of the youth. Otherwise it will lead young people to frustration and then there are chances that they get into drugs. Apart from sport, education can also play a positive role in keeping our young generation away from the influence of drugs.



ALSO READ: Home-grown or smuggled, drugs destroying generations across state

ALSO READ:Drugs a serious problem, deal with it seriously and salvage Punjab’s image

ALSO READ: Debating the issue


Compiled by Ravinder Vasudeva, Manpreet Randhawa, Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Anshu Seth, Chitleen K sethi and Saurabh Duggal