Intoxicating substances—Tobacco, Marijuana, Opium and Wine are not new to man. Since ages these intoxicants have been in use in various forms. The use of tobacco for instance has been prevalent amongst all strata of society whether rich or poor. Marijuana (ganja) was used by our sages for transcendental meditation. Opium was used by the Chinese, particularly, the poor workmen to relax after a day’s backbreaking labour. Like tobacco, wine also had universal usage.

The question arises, if intoxicants have been in wide use since long past, why now growing, possessing, buying and selling, and consuming some of these substances and their derivatives (termed as narcotic drugs) are held as illegal and the related acts criminal?

The answer is, there is a dividing line between the right use and misuse of these intoxicant substances. Today, the misuse has far exceeded their right use and has acquired an alarming dimension due to the efforts of unscrupulous and antisocial elements in every country. It is to arrest this threat to the health and well-being of the society that the narcotic control and anti-narcotic laws had to be framed.

Let us examine what is the dividing line between the genuine use of intoxicants and their abuse. Occasionally, taking a few puffs at a cigarette in between hard and monotonous work gives a fillip to some people and thus helps their performance. But when a teenager smokes in the company of his friends, under peer-pressure, to prove his manhood, which he is yet to attain only injures his health. Wine is an intoxicant that can relax a tired body or mind. Drinking can also be justified at the time of festivities, as the tribal do, to enjoy the occasion, forgetting the drudgery of daily life.

But when a youth drinks at a bar to “freak out” with friends indulging in rowdy behaviour, it does not help him in any positive way. Similarly, opium is a natural medicinal product that is useful in many diseases. But when opium is laced with harmful chemicals to lift its users to an artificially created pleasurable sensation it amounts to abuse.

Unfortunately, there are people hidden behind the dark underworld, whose interest lies in spreading the malady of drug abuse and addiction as widely as possible, because there is immense money in it. For the sake of money they do not hesitate to indulge in any criminal act — from smuggling to murder, at the cost of innumerable individual lives, their families and the society at large. These “Enemies” of the people find the youth, especially the school and college going students as most vulnerable target.

Their drug channels are spread far and wide. Recent investigations conducted by NCB (Narcotic Control Bureau of India) revealed that even anti­depressant medicines that are to be sold mandatory under doctor’s prescription are being diverted to the illicit drug market. Several small pharmaceutical manufacturers have found it more lucrative to join the bandwagon rather than sell the medicines to genuine users at a low price. Yet another incident of a high-end business house with
a chain of outlets working as a conduit for supply
of drug has come to light. In view of the very
large and intricate network of the illicit drug
market Narcotic Department alone could not be
the answer for the eradication of the malady of
drug misuse. People’s cooperation is needed to
fight the evil. Our focus, therefore, should be the
youth, who are make easy targets for the drug
mafias. The battle should begin at school with every
student made to understand the bad effects of

He must understand that every act related to drug use from buying to consuming the drug, amounts to criminal act. Every student must know that for a short-term pleasure he will be paying a very high price for it in the long term. Drugs are costly, and a hard-core addict cannot do without it and to get the drug at any cost a dangerous behavioural change comes in him.

He starts lying, cheating, stealing and even committing other crimes for the money. This compulsion renders him worthless for himself, for his family and for the society. Let every student take a vow to guard against the pit fall of drug as well as to help others to stay away from it.