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Who will free Punjab from drugs menace?

Recently, I saw a movie promo of Udta Punjab. The movie revolves around the increasing problem of drug abuse in Punjab. It is a story of four different people merged together. There are four different stories and four different perspectives. It is set in Punjab and talks about the drug scenario. It is the first Hindi film to deal with the issue. I am happy that Bollywood directors are taking such sensitive issues to address. Once Punjab was heaven on earth, but it is cursed by its politics. Sikhs turned to be rebellious and some even left nation for better prospects.

Punjab is suffering with Drugs, Babas and sadhus; people are misguided from all fronts. A recent study by Dr. Ravinder Sandhu of Guru Nanak Dev University shows that the incidence of such crimes in Punjab is nine times the national average. Between 1999 and 2008 the years when Punjab was recovering from the aftermath of terrorism, such crimes registered a staggering 245 per cent increase. Punjab became the state with the highest number of narcotics-related crimes, surpassing Mizoram which earlier held this dubious distinction. It is difficult to assume how many of the state’s youngsters are addicted to drugs. Youth of Punjab have given up everything; they are not in their senses to ask for their own rights.

Punjab is leading to a dark era. Recently, even western media has shown their interest in covering Punjab drug epidemic. This is not a new problem in Punjab, but it has become worse than ever and almost every youth is coming in its shackles. If effective action will not be taken to deal with the problem, then it will definitely hit the youth in this part of the world.

The drug addiction in Punjab is alarming. Near border areas the rate of heroin abuse among 15 to 25 year old is as high as 75 per cent whereas in rural areas it is 73 per cent. A Department of Social Security Development of Women and Children suggested that as many as 67 per cent of rural households in Punjab will have at least one drug addict in the family. There is at least one death due to drug overdose each week in the region.
Bhuki is another similar type of wild grass which can be found throughout Punjab. It is possible to get a mild intoxicating effect from Bhuki, and it is considered a gateway drug because it encourages young people to begin experimenting.

Heroin addiction is getting the most attention in the media. It is believed that this narcotic is flooding in from Afghanistan via Pakistan.
Opium and morphine are other types of opiate that are commonly abused.

Many brands of toothpaste in the region contain nicotine. There are reports that people are consuming excessive amounts of toothpaste because of high nicotine content. Heroin is the drug that is causing most concern in the region. Though autho-rities are taking a tough stance on borderline security, despite this the drug continues to flood in to the area. There are high margin of profits, and due to this, corruption is also on its peak. Most of the heroin are consumed in Punjab, so drug dealers are not moving to the other parts of India.

Drug addiction is destroying youth future. Addiction means that the individual becomes unemployed. Some commentators in Punjab are blaming the green revolution, which has led to a food surplus. Young people have been overindulging in farming that they had not looked at other things in Punjab. So, their skills have been affected.

Drugs, human rights politics and even nature are not very kind to Punjab. This state is undergoing an ecological disa-ster due to heavy agriculture supported by heavy use of chemicals and pesti-cides and overuse of ground water. These are the major issues that lead to climate change. Thousands of acres of crops are burned to make room for next season’s crops, adding to a health crisis. Farmers are committing suicide, they are overburdened with loans and in such crises survival is another challenge.

The need of the hour is that, the Sikh Panth (Sikh community) should create awareness among its people through various channels in Punjab on crucial issues. They help seeking justice to people of the soil. They need to educate youth and prevent them from consuming drugs, else one day whole Punjab will be hit by this menace and state would be ruined by the political morons.

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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