Drug Addiction and Youth: Prevention is Better than Cure!

Drug Addiction and Youth: Prevention is Better than Cure!
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AAMIR SUHAIL PANDITH

At the present day, youth in Kashmir is facing a number of problems. One of these is the drug menace. Some young people are taking drugs and have become addicted to these, unable to come out of this vicious spiral.
It has been observed that the young people in Kashmir valley that use drugs do it out of curiosity and the belief that it will reduce their problems like stress, trauma, anxiety or depression (failed love relationships, failing exams, stress of growing up and the rest). Some people become addicted to these drugs due to some habits like bad company, too much pocket money, lack of parental direction or guidance, easy availability of drugs and so on. Some people use drugs to relieve some medical condition but continue to use them after the medical condition is over and thus become drug abusers.
According to a survey conducted by United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), there are 70000 drug addicts in Kashmir division alone , including four thousand women. The survey also revealed that 60-70% students, both male and female are drug addicts.
Drug abuse is the patterned and chronic use of a drug in which the person consumes the drug in amounts or by ways which are very hazardous and harmful for him(or her) and others.
Kashmir has been through the two decades of turmoil which has resulted in an increase of psychiatric illness and psychosocial disturbances. A number of psychiatric problems have emerged like depression, drug addiction and so on. As long as the problem of drug addiction in Kashmir is concerned, it has been observed that this conflict ridden region has a tremendous rise in substance abusers over the past decade.
The grim picture of drug abuse in Kashmir valley has put a lot of challenges for the people of the valley in general and for government and non-government organizations, in particular. The biggest challenge is the illegal trafficking and sale of drugs within the valley in which police and general public have an important role to play. Some recent reports suggest that there is a large number of opioid cultivation going on in Kashmir which makes it more readily available for consumption( other psychotropic medicines are also easily accessible).
With full public support and cooperation, powers that be can work more efficiently towards this menace. The other challenge is the limited facilities available for rehabilitation of drug addicts. More drug de-addiction centers are needed to rehabilitate the victims. Lack of awareness about both drug addiction and the process of detoxification and rehabilitation is also a challenge. The administration, educational institutes and NGO’s and other social work institutes need to educate people especially young generation about this problem. Awareness on the part of parents and caretakers is also an issue to tackle so that they can detect this problem as early as possible and they can provide immediate help to the person. Voluminous amount of literature suggests that enhancing a victim’s social support and inculcate in him or her some positive behavior can help him get rid of this menace. Drug addicts often feel isolated and have sense of alienation, so providing them certain kind of social and moral support help them and make them more empowered to get over this problem.
The abuse of alcohol and drugs has resulted in significant morbidity and mortality among adolescents worldwide. Many of these youth lose their lives to drugs and alcohol and a significant number are likely to grow up to become chronic drug users. Although, the substance abuse problem is complex and large in magnitude, there is a substantial amount of evidence-based research available to physicians, community leaders and schools to implement interventions that can decrease adolescent substance abuse rates.
Because this issue is not peculiar to any one community or culture, we recognize that individual interventions may not be universally effective. Therefore, we emphasize the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse)strategy of targeting modifiable risk factors and enhancing protective factors through family, school and community prevention programmes, as a generalized framework for healthcare and community activists to use when researching programmes and strategies best suited for their own community.
There are four ways to prevent drug addiction.
To begin a discussion about ways to prevent drug addiction, it is important to understand why people get addicted to drugs in the first place.
From a scientific standpoint, the following six factors have an impact on why many people fall prey to substance addiction:
1. Genetics;
2. Social environment;
3. Age of first use;;
4. Mental illness
5. Early childhood trauma;
6. Adult trauma.

Prevention is key when experimenting with drugs
This may sound like a cliché but it’s nevertheless true. Prevention is the best way to keep people away from becoming addicted to drugs. When it comes to drug and alcohol consumption, holding the notion that “ I’ll do it only once” may prove to be quite dangerous. And for those that do it the first time, it’s equally as dangerous to say “I can stop at any time”. Many people can, but those unlucky few can end up with a dependence that spirals out of control.
Here are four ways to avoid relying on drugs to get through life
Learn to deal with life’s pressures
The inability to deal with normal life pressures is one of the major reasons that drive people to drugs and alcohol. For many people, drug and alcohol consumption is a way to escape the harsh realities of life. Learning to cope with life’s pressures will go a long way when it comes to helping people stay away from drugs and alcohol.
Don’t give into peer pressure
Some people, particularly teenagers and count adults, experiment with drugs just to portray a cool image in front of others. They do it to fit in among their circle of friends. Some kids wrongly believe that taking drugs will make them more acceptable and popular with other kids. Not giving into peer pressure can and will prevent drug addiction.
Develop close family ties
Research indicates that people who share a close relationship with their families are less likely to become drug addicts. The guidance and support provided by the family makes it easier for person to deal with life pressures and stay away from all types of harmful substances. The same is true for having a close relationship with good friends that are responsible and trustworthy.
Develop health habits
Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly is another way of preventing drug and alcohol addiction. Being healthy and active makes it easier for people to deal with life stress. A healthy diet and regular exercise promotes feel good chemicals in the brain.
While these are just a few ideas that can help prevent drug and alcohol addiction, it is important for a person who has already developed an addiction to seek drug and alcohol treatment.

The author can be reached at: bt.aamir@gmail.com