Jalandhar: Punjab – once known for its agricultural production and its rich culture – is now known for drug addiction. Beginning from opium, the youth of the state are now slaves of psychotropic substances like heroine, smack and cocaine. Drugs are consuming Punjab.
According to figures, at least nine lakh person in the state take drugs regularly. Of them, 3.5 lakh are addicts. Bhaskar interviewed a large number of psychologists and counsellors at de-addiction centres, drug addicts and their family members to know the extent and intensity of the problem. Research reports including one of PGI, Chandigarh titled ‘Drug abuse problem is intense in Punjab’ were studied.
It is clear that drugs are ruining Punjab. Suicides, untimely deaths and divorces are only one aspect of the problem. Diseases like AIDS and Hepatitis C are spreading in the state because people are using same syringes to inject drugs.
According to a report by NCRB, in ten years (2007-17), 25,000 persons committed suicide in India after having to procure drugs. Of them, 71 per cent suicides took place in Punjab. This means that every day, on an average, three persons ended their life in the state as they could not get the high.
Players performing poorly
The state’s performance is falling in every field. In the 1968 Mexico Olympics, of the 25 members of the Indian contingent, 13 were from Punjab. In the 2014 Commonwealth games, players from Punjab had won nine medals. In the 2018 Games, only three could win the honours.
Figures suggest that every third male and every tenth female student are taking drugs. The dropout rates from schools has grown from 1.3 per cent in 2014 to 3.3 per cent in 2017.
(Story: Ashish Chaurasia, Praveen Garg)