Countering the Drug threat | Daily News

Countering the Drug threat

“Punjab teenager shoots mother for refusing money for drugs”. This headline in one of India’s premier newspapers—Hindustan Times—speaks volumes about the tragedy and the grave threat that is facing the social fabric of all the countries, especially Asia. The news story goes on to say how a teenage boy, aged 16, in Kot Dharma village in Punjab’s Mansa district fatally shot his mother Kulwinder Kaur with his father’s licenced gun when she refused to give him money to buy drugs.

Similar stories are frequent happenings in Sri Lanka too. How drug addicts kidnap baby girls, rape them and kill them or how they will indulge in any criminal act to find money to satisfy their unending urge to consume illicit drugs are common news items in our national media. It is the typical pattern of a drug addict. When his personal money runs out he will pawn or sell anything of value. He might steal or even kill to get a little money to buy these drugs.

The drug menace has become a social canker that badly affects the whole gamut of activities concerning the people and their economic well being. Drug abuse and its illicit trafficking not only lead to a complex set of social, medical and psychological problems, but also have an adverse effect on the world economy as well. Despite strong and tough efforts by governments as well as various powerful international organisations to prevent and stop the misuse of drugs and the illegal trafficking, it continues to flourish in a big way around the globe.

UN agencies

According to UN estimates, more than 50 million people across the world are regular users of heroin, cocaine and synthetic drugs like ecstasy. The UN report claims that millions of others are directly or indirectly involved in its production, trafficking or sale. Further findings by the UN agencies reveal that illegal global drug trade generates a massive US$ 400 billion a year, providing employment opportunities to thousands of people both legally and illegally. It is also a known fact that the prices of drugs increase if there is any shortage of raw materials like coca leaf or opium. Similarly if the raw material is in abundance the prices decrease.

Hence, drug business is big business and drug barons are so powerful that they are sometimes able to control everyone and are even able to topple governments with the help of their ill-gotten money. This is a common feature all over the world where El Chapos are ruling the roost even from inside top security prisons. The power of the drug mafia too is visible in Sri Lanka and if you go against their activities or if you become a threat the best thing for you to do is to call the undertakers!

Although there are no “El Chapos” in the Sri Lankan drug world, the local drug barons can activate their criminal activities from abroad as well as from the jail. Hence, in order to counter the drug menace we have to tread on subtle and unorthodox pathways.

As education is an important catalyst in this regard, we should concentrate on building up of a strong and powerful character, a vital priority. Hence, a human being with straight, tough and a decisive personality, who will not be easily influenced by anyone or anything and also will have the guts to say “NO” to anything bad or wrong and act accordingly, will be the result.

Drug vendors

As it is in countering the drug threat parents and teachers have an important and responsible role to play as the victims of this menace are their own children. The strategy they should follow is to catch the kids who are approaching their teens. These children are unspoilt and uncorrupt and they can be easily influenced by the drug vendors.

If the parents and the teachers are able to build up toughness and the guts in the minds of these kids, half of our battle against the drug menace is won. Just asking them to say “No to Drugs” will not be sufficient when considering the unpardonable damage these illegal drugs have already done to our social fabric. These children should be groomed not only to decisively refuse but also stage and organise a crusade against the drug threat.

The task of the parents and teachers is to first identify the present incurable teenage drug addicts and make arrangements dispatch them rehabilitation centres as they not in a position to be influenced to say “No to drugs”.

When concentrating on the pre-teens firstly parents and teachers should display a friendly and understanding attitude. Only then will they confide in you and speak freely about their likes and dislikes and also the complicated issues in their lives. You must pay attention to their whereabouts and introduce responsibilities that will interest them. It is also very necessary to meet their friends as well. In order to come closer to them you must find ways to appreciate and praise their good deeds.

In such an environment the child and his erstwhile friends will be emotionally attached to you and will consider you as their confidante who will protect them from evil and also show the correct path to solve problems.

Another important point is to understand the vulnerability of the child’s weakness in joining the “drug club”. In this regard you must be able to recognize the warning signs before it’s too late.

If your child or student displays sudden or extreme change in friends. eating habits, sleeping patterns, physical appearance, school performance, irresponsible behaviour, poor judgement and general lack of interest and also withdrawal from the family, it is time you should step into his life as a honest and dependable “friend”. If he has already fallen into the unreturnable depth where drug addiction is concerned, then the best thing is to get professional medical advice and seek the help of a rehabilitation centre.

But in our endeavour to counter the drug menace that can be likened to an incurable cancer that is spreading fast and is affecting not only the social, medical, psychological aspects of our society, but also have an adverse effect on the world economy, we have to be careful in treading this dangerous path as the powerful and highly connected drug cartels are capable of meeting and obliterating any threat to their multi-billion dollar global business.

Vulnerable children

Hence, in this venture parents and teachers as their closest friend and confidante are in a better position to understand the thinking and behaviour and also the experiences the kids might encounter. This is the best opening they will get to enter the subconscious mind and influence their thinking of these vulnerable children.

Firstly, it should be a friendly chat and must make it a point to avoid lectures. They must be patient and must just listen to what the child has to reveal. Ask his views about the drug menace and how he feels about it. As the chat continues they must emphasize how drug use can affect things important to him, such as sports, health and his personal appearance. If possible using photographs and videos to prove the facts.

It must be remembered that this exercise is a way to lay the foundation in building a strong character in the child’s and the student’s mind. In addition they must be able to convince the child that the aftermath of being a drug addict would cause illness, crime, financial devastation, legal problems, homelessness, community problems, disability and in the end DEATH.

In this way parents and teachers must concentrate on building a strong character in children approaching the teen years. If they are successful in establishing the message of “Say no to drugs, Say yes to life” in their minds it can be considered a heroic feat in blocking the underground activities of the drug barons and their cahoots.

This will be the way in rescuing a generation from the evil clutches of the drug mafia and also to stop the supply line of these illegal drugs into the society.

With this subtle operation you will not only be protecting your child and the student but also will be a strong factor in countering the drug menace that is affecting our society, politics, culture and almost every aspect of our lives.

It is a challenge worth taking on! 

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