Drug addiction, in recent decades, has become a matter of concern for every individual, community and nation. Mankind no doubt has been using and abusing drugs right from the very beginning, but in the present century drug addiction has emerged as a cancer and has brought within its fold almost all the segments of society. The technological revolution has brought about sweeping changes throughout the world and has reduced the entire world to a global village. Knowledge explosion and technological revolution on one hand has brought an overall development and bestowed on humanity all the comforts, but on the other hand it has engulfed mankind in confusion and chaos and has made the youth to resort to drugs. Drug addiction has markedly increased during past three decades all over the world, including India, and has assumed epidemic proportions, according to WHO. The highest incidence of the epidemic is found in slum areas. An idea of its prevalence can be had from the fact that at an annual global turnover of more than 800 billion dollars, the narcotics industry is second only to defence industry. According to a recent estimate, it may well become the largest organised industry in the world if the present rate of growth continues.
Over 50 million people in the world are addicted to hard drugs and narcotics. The number in India is 3-5 million, 2 lakh of which are in Delhi alone. In India, there are one million heroin addicts, 2 million opium addicts and several million cannabis addicts. It may be mentioned that the ratio of drug abusers to alcoholics having serious alcohol abuse problem is 1: 30. A Drug is any substance (other than food) that produces changes in physical or mental functioning of an individual, and the Drug Use is taking a drug for medical purpose like treating an illness, protecting the body against the disease or to relieve pain or tension. On the other hand, Drug Abuse is taking a drug for other than medical reasons in amount, strength, frequency and manner that damages the physical and mental functions. Drug Addiction is defined as a state of periodic or chronic intoxication detrimental to the individual and society produced by repeated intake of habit forming drugs. It produces both drug dependence and tolerance. Drug abuse has revealed an alarming proportion in recent years.
“DRUG CULTURE” is fast making inroads into the lives of the young people from all walks of life. A person may have more than one reason to start using drugs. People who start using drugs for one reason (curiosity, pleasure, social pressure or medical reason) may continue using it for quite another (such as psychological dependence or group pressure). The reason given for Drug Dependence include following: Curiosity and natural tendency to experiment with drugs: Young people are especially tempted to experiment to drugs. Emotional pressure: Some people use psychoactive drugs (those which affect mind or behaviour) to relieve various emotional problems such as anxiety, nervousness or depression. Others use drugs simply because they are bored. Insecure people may take drugs to boost their self-confidence. Some young people may use drug as an expression of alienation or rebellion. An escape from tensions and frustrations in life e.g. unemployment, failure in examination, etc. is also a phenomenon.
Disturbed home environment: Children from broken homes, indifferent parents, lack of communication between parents and children. Social pressure: The social pressure for using drugs can be very strong. Young people may be influenced by popular songs glorifying the effects of drugs or by famous singers, musicians or athletes who are known to use drugs. Children are especially influenced by their parents whose casual use of alcohol, nicotine (cigarettes) and other drugs may make drug-taking seem normal or safe or even justifiable. Group pressure: In some groups, drug-taking is the fashionable thing to do. It is the badge of belonging and the key to social acceptance. Abstainers are excluded. An impact of Disco culture. Availability: Drugs, both legal and illegal, are now more easily available. More people than ever before are directly or indirectly exposed to them.