Drug abuse and drug dependency is a global problem today, affecting many youths and countries across the world. However, its extent and effects differ from region to region. The state of Punjab in India has a rampant drug problem and is caught in the vicious cycle of drug menace. It is a national issue highlighted by the media, and many stories come in the press about the problem. It changes the political dynamics in Punjab during elections. The government needs to take extra steps to keep a check on this problem.
The problem of drug abuse is a matter of concern because every third person is hooked to drugs today. There is a high prevalence of using dangerous drugs in the youth of Punjab. Using drugs has devastated homes and has become a raging epidemic in Punjab today. It was a big issue in the year 2014 parliamentary elections in Punjab. The SAD-BJP alliance had to face backlash from others, and it was the most trending topic during the elections.
Heroin with opium is the most common drug found in Punjab today. According to the National Survey on the extent and pattern of substance use in India, Punjab has more than 7.2 lakh heroin addicts. A recent study concluded that many people from the age group of 15-35 years take drugs. Many political parties highlight the drug problem during elections and promise to work on it to cash their image. The political dynamics in Punjab changes a lot due to the drug menace in every election. It is one of the hot topics for political parties on which they run their election campaign.
What Political Parties Should Do on The Drugs Issue?
The problem of death from drug overdose is another issue. Time and again Congress party has faced criticism from the opposition and the public. People from rural Punjab have resorted to protests and carry out marches to demand action on drug peddlers. The state government faces criticism for not doing enough to tackle the nexus between the drug mafia. The drug issue is massive in the state because of its proximity to Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, the government in Punjab has done many things to control the menace in Punjab. The Congress government has formed a special task force to control the selling and buying of drugs. It has taken extra steps by consulting national and international organizations for addicts and their rehabilitation. Unfortunately, even today majority of drug addicts do not receive first-hand treatment.
It is high time now that the government should do more and start a massive drive against peddlers. The state government needs to work with civil society, healthcare professionals, and police to check on the menace to save the youth. It is also essential to keep a record of drug-related deaths. There are times the victim’s family does not want to report an incident due to the shame it will cause. Rather than hiding such issues under the carpet, society should bring these issues to light and seek help. All need to work together in the fight against drugs.