Illicit Drug Trafficking is a global problem. It has certainly 'graduated' from being an 'American malady' to a global nuisance, the world would be best without. The economics of demand and supply have undoubtedly spurred this nefarious trade, giving rise to powerful drug cartels around the world.
Illicit drugs without question have lent a blow to many people's lives. Illicit drugs could fall under any of these categories - amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), sedative hypnotics, cannabis, cocaine, hallucinogens, and opiates.
To put a figure on the extent of penetration of narcotic drugs, there are close to 16 million people who use opiates. Cannabis is extremely popular; marihuana, hashish, THC- tops the list with 162 million users. And a whopping 13 million would do anything for cocaine. ATS -amphetamine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, and methcathinone rules the life of almost 35 million users. That makes more than 200 million in the grips of narcotic drugs.
Cannabis is widely cultivated in many regions of the world. Propelled by the huge demand for this drug, its makers have altered the potency of the drug to give the consumer an intense high. This has led to an increase in the number of takers for this drug.
Naturally, there has been a surge in drug associated crime. Many unfortunate accidents have taken place as a direct consequence of illicit drugs. There have also been cases of drug overdose causing brain damage and even death. Another consequence of injection drugs has been the spread of HIV.
Let's join hands to curb the menace
The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit drug trafficking falls on 26th June 2007. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) aims to increase the awareness of illicit drugs and the magnitude of harm it can cause society.
The slogan for the day is thought provoking - 'Do drugs control your life? Your community' - No place for drugs, the slogan reinforces!
This year's endeavor attacks the root of the problem. Awareness is crucial to put an end to the menace. The grass root approach to creating awareness about drug abuse forms the crux of this year's endeavor. It would begin by targeting schools, parents and youth.
Significantly, the programme, titled 'Ke Moja - No thanks I am fine without drugs' targets the youth, empowering them with the all important decision of staying away from drugs. The programme will also spot the youth in the grip of drugs and enable timely intervention.
India Takes Stock
India happens to be the only country cultivating opium for medical and scientific use. Despite strict regulation, some amount gets into the illicit route.
Drug abuse is also becoming a problem at call centers and college campuses. The key challenge to curbing drug abuse in India hovers around controlling the use of party drugs like Ecstasy. Many synthetic drugs are abused at parties which cannot be overlooked. These drugs have hallucinogenic characters and are akin to other drugs of their genre, with the potential to cause irreparable brain damage. A strong team effort between public and private companies is imperative to end this problem.
The UN body in India has set up nearly 400 de-addiction centers and 200 trained personnel have been inducted as counselors. Each trained person will enlighten the issue of drugs in five others. This chain will perpetuate and the message is spread.
The groups will also proactively seek drug abusers and bring them to the de- addiction centers. Support groups are underway to roll out the process of assisting abusers to get back on track.
A concerted effort across nations is imperative to obliterate the scourge. This is not a problem specific to a country. It is a global problem which needs a global initiative -the enforcement groups have to be intricately synergized across the world to end the menace. Maybe we need to learn lessons of co-operation, cohesiveness and networking from the drug cartels themselves!