How Punjab is fighting the Drug Menace
Drug addiction and its fallout have been plaguing Punjab for many years now.But,for the first time,a social and community movement seems to be building in the state against the menace.
The awakening can be linked to the 24 deaths the state saw due to drug abuse last month.The slogan, maro ya virodh karo(fight against drug or die),was a spontaneous one that came out from the Tarn Taran district in the Majha region,the worst affected due to its shared border with Pakistan,a major source of supply.
While the fight against the menace has to be multi-pronged,one area that needs more focus is encouraging addicts and their families to fight social stigma and seek help.
This is what Delhi-based film-maker Shilpi Gulati has tried to highlight in her recent documentary, Lock and Key.”I was personally moved by stories of families,especially women,who had the conviction and strength to bring their loved ones out of the grip of this epidemic.It is now time to talk about rehabilitation.”
Not everyone is convinced about the government’s efforts.”The compulsory dope test for all government employees is nothing but photo opportunity”,says Jangveer Singh,media advisor to Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal.
“It will be a huge waste of government money.However,the recent rise in awareness about the issue and mothers of victims actually coming out and attacking drug peddlers and corrupt police officers are positive signs”.
Only 2 percent of drug addicts recover
The recovery rate of drug addicts is only 2 percent depends on the family members,especially the women related to those who have recovered,that they do not go back to drugs.
Sources have reported that the women addicts have increased drastically.
Gursharan Kaur is a housewife in the Tamkot Village of Punjab’s Mansa District.
Every evening,she along with 20 other women in the village wrap up their household chores early.Once the utensils are back in the racks,these women start moving out of their houses with batons in their hands.
The night vigil started late year after a 17-year-old boy died of suspected drug overdose.His mother could not believe that she lost her son at the age of 17 and this affected her too much.Seeing her condition,women in the village were afraid that this could happen to anyone and the matter was discussed with village elders.
The journey of Punjab,known for its valour all over the world,from being an agrarian society to a drug-ridden state is a very long one.