By DN Singh
The other day it was near the Bhubaneswar railway station I came across something that can stun many. As it did to me.
I was taking small strolls in front of a shopping mall while waiting for someone. It was just past twilight and the calm over the area was getting dissolved in the sounds of vehicles.
Suddenly from my back side I heard two thumps as if something fell on the ground. In fact, two young boys, in their pre-adolescence, were fighting and what a fearsome fight it was! It had passion, ferocity and hunger for something.
Kind of do or die brawl, either of the two was not in a mood to give up. Suddenly one fell flat on the ground and was struggling to get up when the other one picked up a piece of brick and was about to hit the one on the ground.
It could have been a bloody end to that scuffle but someone had to stop that. I and a cab driver rushed to push the boy with the stone away. When I helped the one on the ground to get up, I noticed that he had something in his fist. He was Abhay and the other was Sukanta, both from the nearby slum.
Odisha in The Map Of ‘Substance’
It was a Dendrite tube! Almost exhausted. So our illusion behind such a passionate yet murderous fight was over. Both were addicts of the inhaling of such stuff.
Naturally the issue gains significance for any reader when just a day back few such youngsters were apprehended by the NCB inside a luxury Cruiser in Mumbai. Among them was a boy called Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood actor Saharukh Khan.
The moot issue is, the ill that must be killed. There it was in a luxury Cruiser and here, near the railway station, on the pavements.
And what is common is, the obsession and the flashy zeal to be on the high with such drugs.
Substances may be different and the place as well, and the manner in which consumed as well but, in all the cases the result is garish that leads to a slow debilitation of the health.
It would not be wrong to say that, Odisha too has got into the map of such dirty ostentations for long since.
According to a study undertaken some time back, Odisha has about 45 % plus such youngsters who take to such inhalants and a sizable number are victims of heroin or brown sugar. Estimated to be little over 17% but a fresh study can be able to project the current status.
Drug Cuts Class Barriers Now
It may be an outdated concept to say that, the ones who become addicts are mostly from the lower strata. The race has surpassed all such class barriers and the cases of drug abuse in Mumbai, which surfaces gradually, is not only pervasive but a dangerous one.
In cities like Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, children into rag picking, working in road side eateries, or helpers in other selling points or even coolies normally can be seen getting into drug abuse.
It could be an understatement to say that, addiction in Odisha revolves around Dendrite or Tobacco or Alcohol. Cities like Puri have remained some of the hubs where the inroad by the addiction regime went deeper, starting mainly from areas where there are more footfalls of tourists of foreign origin.
It has subsequently spread into areas in the west end of the city where youngsters had been found falling victims of drug abuse.
Globally seen the figures are scary. According to an estimation between 150 million and 300 million people in the age group of 15 to 60 have been found addicted to several illicit substances. “And the end result of such nasty recourse has claimed lives of more than 99,000 to 253,000 deaths globally”.
Even the revelation of what goes on in the cities like Mumbai in which Bollywood is involved, in some way influences the high end societies to follow either of the way.
Odisha Second Highest Centres
One thing is encouraging that Odisha has the second highest number(22) of rehabilitation and de-addiction centres besides Counselling centres and several NGOs are working at awareness creation and rehabilitation so that youngsters can be kept away from substance abuse.
For some like the ones being named from Mumbai, it may be a show of flamboyance or false togetherness whereas in downtown areas it is again a misleading concept that the illicit substance can imbue mental relief or take one on the high.
If we look at other stuffs like Ganja or Charas,Odisha ranks third in India while rampant use of opioid and cannabis it is among ten top user states. Besides the use of alcohol and other sedative is no less disturbing in Odisha.
Odisha government has laid enough emphasis on de-addiction and is one of the states getting highest central allocation for de-addiction part.
About the Author:
DN Singh is a Bhubaneswar-based senior journalist.
This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with the www.prameyanews.com