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How To Fight Substance Abuse In India? | Richa Ke Saath

Richa Anirudh in conversation with Umakant Mishra (EX-NCB Director), Adv Aashutosh Srivastava (NDPS Lawyer), Dr. Harish Shetty (Psychiatrist), Yash Baadal (Recovery Coach), & Mahesh Hiranandani (Managing Director, Anatta Humanversity).

Drug addiction is a disease that affects the brain and behavior of an individual. It causes physical and psychological harm and is most often beyond repair. The struggle of an addict is real and the cure is unavailable. 

Mahesh Hiranandani, Managing Director, Anantta Humanversity, who has been an addict for almost 18 years shared his journey full of struggle and pain. 

“There is a beautiful life that lies beyond the bottles, powders, and drugs but coming out of this vicious circle is a challenge” Mahesh Hiranandani

Drug law reform has re-emerged on the international and domestic policy agendas. Consumption of drugs by the younger generation and its connection with crimes has brought the topic back on the tables of debate and discussion. 

Yash Badal, a recovered addict is a recovery coach today. He explained that addiction is a progressive and genetically transmissive disease. “It was very easy for me to start drinking & smoking but when I realized that I should stop, things became difficult. I reached out for help, joined different groups to seek help but, nothing helped,” he said.

According to the National drug dependence treatment center, the most commonly injected drugs are Heroin followed by Pharmaceutical Opioids. These extremely addictive drugs can cause serious harm to the body, including brain damage, infection, and chronic medical conditions.

Given the current plight of drug addicts in the world. The approach has to be empathetic rather than discriminatory. Dr. Harish Shetty, a well-known psychiatrist from Mumbai believes that mental health is connected to addiction.

“Drug addiction has spread across all borders, whether it is upper class, middle class, or lower class”  Dr. Harish Shetty

In India, substance abuse is more severe than it appears. As per a report by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, about 1.2% of the Indian population (i.e approx. 1.3 crores) have used illegal cannabis products between 2017 & 18. The report also states that 2.1% of India’s population (i.e. approx. 2.26 crores) use opioids.

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act), prohibits a person from the production, manufacturing, cultivation, possession, sale, purchasing, transport, storage, and/or consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.

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