Here's a piece from SMCH's Dr. Suman Baidya on "International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking"
Today, June 26 is marked as International Day Against Drug Abuse And Illicit Trafficking. Since 1987 United Nations General Assembly decided to celebrate this day to prevent menace of substance abuse among population and to bring cooperation among countries and other agencies so that the organised crime of drug lord’s can be destroyed.
The theme of 2023 for the day is “People First: Stop Stigma & Discrimination, strengthen Prevention.”
People are abusing different substances among different geographical location and different cultures since time immemorial But at present times due to advancement of technology and communications its been transformed into a dark industry..
According to a 2021 report, in India around 22% people atleast abused one type of illicit drug in 1 year. So from this we can imagine the magnitude of drug menace in our country..
The most common substance which is abused in India is Cannabis followed by Alcohol, different Hallucinogens, Opioids( commonly called Heroin or Drug), stimulants and even many prescribed medicines which shouldn’t be given without doctors prescription are also being abused by many people by getting them through illegal means.
If we come to North East India and specifically Barak Valley we are not immune from this problem rather we are sitting on a volcano. Golden Triange which is one of the two notorious region for producing maximum illegal opioid bordering the countries of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand is bordering North East India. Opioids (Heroin/ Brown sugar) are transported from this region to Mainland India and unfortunately this route also passes through Barak Valley. So here in Barak Valley we are getting spill over effect..
If we specifically come to Opioids Drug which is commonly called Heroin or Brown sugar, abuse of which is rapidly spreading among population. In our day to day practice we are getting as young as 15 years teenagers to 50 years old are using this drug and it’s not only affluent people who are abusing it but even daily wage earners are also getting addicted. Educated and illiterate all are getting addicted.
This substance is not only affecting the general health condition of the people but also causing economic problem and downward drift of family in society.
Cases of snatching, theft, burglary which are increasing in society. One of the reasons is drug abuse as person needs huge quantity of money needs to buy it and as days goes on amount of drug needs to get the desired effect also goes up.
In Silchar Medical College and Hospital we have Opioid Substitution Therapy( OST) Centre where we are treating people with intravenous (I.V). Unfortunately every month we are detecting 5 to 7 people who are infected with HIV..So it’s lack of awareness too that people don’t know when they are abusing opiods through injectable route they are spreading serious Diseases like HIV, Hepatitis and STDs too.
So this drug abuse not only harming the person who is abusing it but also having implications over family, relatives and to whole society.
We all have collective responsibility as a society to prevent the spread of drug abuse and creating awareness among masses so they can understand the magnitude of the problem and its consequences.
The author of this article, Dr. Suman Baidya is a practicing physician MD Psychiatry, Silchar Medical College and Hospital.