By Dr Arvind Kumar
26th June is observed as International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking every year. It is an exercise undertaken by the world community to sensitize the people in general and the youth in particular, to the menace of drugs. With a turnover of around $500 billion, it is the third largest business in the world, next to petroleum and arms trade. About 190 million people all over the world consume one drug or the other. Drug addiction causes immense human distress and the illegal production and distribution of drugs have spawned crime and violence worldwide. Today, there is no part of the world that is free from the curse of drug trafficking and drug addiction. Millions of drug addicts, all over the world, are leading miserable lives, between life and death. India too is enmeshed in the quagmire of drug abuse, and the numbers of drug addicts are increasing day by day. A UN report says that about one million heroin addicts are registered in India, and unofficially there are as many as five million. What started off as casual use among a minuscule population of high-income group youth in the metro has permeated to all sections of society.
There is a dire need to prevent the of drug abuse, as the cost to the people, environment and economy will be colossal. Prevention of this evil cannot be facilitated by the government alone, participation of the public is equally essential. There is a need for the government enforcement agencies, the non-governmental philanthropic agencies, and others to collaborate and supplement each other’s efforts for a solution to the problem of drug addiction through education and legal actions.