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EXCLUSIVE: As Drug Menace Continues In Punjab, What Are The Measures Being Taken To Curb Addiction?

People’s Editor focuses on the drugs crisis plaguing the state, what have govts done to deal with the menace? Will this be a top election issue?

ON WEDNESDAY, India Ahead’s Smita Sharma spoke to some of the recovering addicts and brought in ground reports of the drug menace in the state of Punjab. 

Drugs have ruined several lives and devastated families. 33-year-old Raman, a resident of Kapurthala, said that he was taking drugs for the last eight years. “It all started in our salon, everyone use to do drugs, as they were my colleagues even I started, they thought it’s cool. People were proud that they did drugs, we felt as if it’s done for good. We use to forget our families and just wanted to be high on life but, later after I enrolled in counseling things changed,” he said.

Addicts act on the edge of constant ambivalence. But when they desire to recover they can’t stop getting high on life. “Everything takes time, It is not difficult to come out of that zone. I recovered after counseling and, I wish everyone comes out of it,” he added.

“Everything takes time, It is not difficult to come out of that zone. I recovered after counseling and, I wish everyone comes out of it” – Raman, Recovering Addict

Karan, 24-year-old, had gotten into drugs but after counseling, he felt that things can fall back in place. “After I spoke with a counselor, I never felt like doing drugs again,” he said. 

Both of the recovering addicts mentioned that it was difficult for them to leave the addiction, but they wanted to come out of it and, they made it happen. 

The drug crisis in Punjab and other states of India is not just about the male population, a significant population of women are equally involved in it. India Ahead spoke to two young girls, who have now enrolled themselves in the treatment program. 

Neetu, 25, has been into drugs for the last eight years. She also tried rehabilitation at least five times, but failed. “I’m a married woman, just because of my husband I’m unable to come out of drug addiction. He is also a drug addict, he doesn’t agree to be in a rehabilitation center. I want to get rid of drugs but I’m failing,” she said.

Kiran, a 17-year-old girl, has been consuming drugs for around three-four months now. “My friends took drugs. They asked me to taste. After I started tasting, I started taking it, and got addicted to it,” she said.

“My friends took drugs, they asked me to taste. After I started tasting, I started taking it, and got addicted to it.”– Kiran, Recovering Addict

Now a recovering addict, Kiran mentioned that she didn’t inform her family and she used all of her pocket money to purchase drugs. “I had spent some 10-12 thousand per month on drugs. When my family got to know, they locked me in a room, all I could think of was committing suicide,” she further added. Later, Kiran decided to go to rehab and she is now under treatment. 

“When my family got to know, they locked me in a room, all I could think of was committing suicide” – Kiran, Recovering Addict

India Ahead also spoke with Dr Sandeep Bhola, Psychiatrist, Kapurthala Civil Hospital. He said that different kinds of services must be made available to people. “Under-privileged groups, children, and trans-genders should be given special attention, as they also an important section of the society to look at, different kind of services must be made available to them,” he said.

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“When transgenders turn up for treatment, I fail to understand which ward they should be sent to; the male treatment wards or female treatment wards. They don’t have an assigned place. Therefore, I request the government to make a different ward for underprivileged”– Dr. Sandeep Bhola, Psychiatrist, Kapurthala Civil Hospital

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