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Drug abuse is a national problem in quite a few countries. Not in India yet, fortunately. In Latin American countries such as Columbia, Bolivia and Peru, the drug lords play vital role even in national politics. These countries spend billions of dollars in checking drug-related crimes. But drug curtails are still active and continue to trouble them and rest of the world. In Asia, Afghanistan and Myanmar are basically production centres of deadly drugs and people there can ill afford those. They rather prefer cheap drugs like strong cough syrups which are smuggled through India. On the other hand, India is fast emerging as a global destination for deadly and costly drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana etc.

The open economy in India has made the money flow fast and easy, without proportionate growth of the human resources. This imbalance is a reason for growing frustrations among the population, young and old. With easy access to money, a huge section of them hunt for ‘peace of mind’ which wine or liquor cannot give. They find solution in drugs. The tiny thing can be consumed anywhere – pubs, bars, bedrooms, cars, schools. No wonder, the ‘peace of mind’ comes at a great cost – even a gram is ‘worth’ lakhs and even crores. And the buyers don’t mind. If they don’t have the money, they would resort to theft, rob someone or even kill somebody. Such is the passion to get the ‘peace of mind’. The problem is grave and getting worse, even in India.

The North-east is on the world map of drug trafficking routes, linking Myanmar and China and other south-east Asian countries. No wonder, Meghalaya in the region was ranked among the three top states in terms of drug abuse among children in the country. Consumption of heroin among the group is highest in the state. A top police official recently revealed that 50 per cent of the crimes taking place in capital Shillong are committed by drug abusers. Most of them commit the crime not to take revenge, survive or getting rich, but only to buy more drugs. Despite this grave situation, the government is yet to conduct a survey on number of deaths due to drug abuse, which cannot be zero. Ironically, the government’s entire anti-drug programmes are based on a six-year-old survey. More than the seminars in the name of bringing awareness about ill effects of drugs, the state needs more rehabilitation centres, strong policing, which are still a far cry.

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on June 28, 2014)