While our political leaders are busy fighting to prove that a possibly botched up deal of 3500 crores is a matter of life and death for the nation, a number double in scale and million times more damaging has surfaced but has remained unnoticed.
As per a study, Punjab is spending a whooping 7500 crores on opioids, out of which 6500 crores are spent on heroin.
Though I love discussing brain and its neuro-chemistry, in this case I would prefer to make it short and bitter. Heroin is a psychoactive substance that causes virtually unshakable life-destroying addiction by hijacking dopamine circuit.
It is so addictive that you are more likely to meet a unicorn trotting down the Dalal Street than an ex-addict who has managed to shake this devil off his back. As de-addiction is a big business, you will find internet full of strategies to get rid of heroin addiction; in reality, death (that too after an agonizing life for the addict and his family) is the only escape from its killer grip.
Of all the organic molecules we have managed to synthesize, heroin remains the most destructive substance we have unleashed upon us. The Punjab numbers are a wake-up call that must force us to find a way to protect highly vulnerable youth from this menace possibly lurking on the streets of Gujarat.
Today, social stigma regarding substance abuse is hugely reduced because we are in the era of glorifying gratification. Traditional first line of defense, i.e. social disapproval is muted now as pursuit of pleasure has acquired cultural acceptance. There is a strong underlying cultural trend of cherishing self-gratification through addiction instead of objecting to it.
Another traditional force that should have countered rising popularity of drug abuse is social leadership. Unfortunately for us, political and religious leaders of our society have lost sight of such social objectives. In a blind pursuit of personal empowerment, mainly by amassing wealth, some of them could be using their clout to support drug mafia instead of fighting them.
The next layer of defense should have been state and its administration. But, state machinery put in place for this very purpose is subverted by the lure of big money that drug business is flushed with. For a citizen, police or administration is providing very limited protection against proliferation of drugs. Instead, they are helping the drug trade in most cases.
This is not unique to India. Drug Inc is so large that it controls countries and economies now. Rapid growth of trade infrastructure across the globe is helping this monster get bigger.
So, with a comprehensive systemic failure in preventing drug proliferation, as a mom or a dad of a young kid likely to discover drugs, you are now almost on your own to save your child from this life-destroying addiction possibly roaming our streets.
Proliferation of substances like heroin is directly linked with modern life-style that has made people family-less and lonely, whereby forcing them to seek solace in chemical comfort. Heroin is gaining ground because it has power to make you happy when you are not, making it almost invincible as a lure in mostly unhappy modern society.
Thankfully for us, all is not lost because every human family has a superpower that can counter heroin’s lure. Families are capable of caring and loving, a superpower that can beat any chemical fix. The only cure to drug problem is reinstating of family bond. If you want to save your child from a life-time in hell, give him a sense of belonging to a caring family, and be an active part of his life.
Love is the only known cure to all addictions, as there is no greater brain-fix than love.