City youth is on an invincible high. It’s indulging in substance abuse and calling all creatures of the night to live it up at a ‘pharming party’. To ring in fun at private bashes held at farmhouses in Delhi and NCR, many upwardly mobile revellers are taking to painkillers to experience ‘nirvana’.
While addiction to prescription drugs has taken shape of an epidemic in the US, global statistics report that it’s on the rise in India as well. Pills like Ecstasy and LSD — the infamous party drugs —don’t figure on this list. Pharming parties only cater to those interested in popping analgesics procured from a local pharmacy. Alcohol, however, can be a companion.
“Youngsters pop painkillers, sedatives, and other stimulants to enjoy at such parties,” says Rahul Aggarwal, 21, a Delhi University student. Adds 20-year-old Napoleon Pegu who studies at a South Campus college, “Since many can’t afford to purchase marijuana everyday, taking certain stimulating pills available at the chemist is the best option. I stick to Combiflam and Morphine usually.” 19-year-old Romy Gangte took to painkillers “to combat joint pains that occur after my Moi Thai (Kick-Boxing) practice sessions”. Now he has it everyday.
Also disturbing is the fact that the occurrence of pharming parties is higher as compared to raves. College-goers find it easier to organise such get-togethers as these don’t involve much “legwork”.
Medical practitioners, however, blame the trend on various reasons. Dr KM Singh of Fortis La Femme, is of the view that “since these medicines are made easily available by peddlers, many are taking a shine to them”. Enlisting the probable reasons behind the trend, he explains, “Peer pressure, boredom and the urge to experiment are inducing factors.”
While Dr Verinder Anand, senior consultant, Internal Medicine at Moolchand Medcity, says these pills can lead to nervous breakdown and memory lapse, mixing them with alcohol can be fatal, exclaims Dr Rachna Singh, Holistic medicine and lifestyle management expert at Artemis Health Institute. She says, “Many pop antacids and painkillers after the consuming alcohol, which can be lethal and may lead to acute ulcer and kidney problems.”