As per a report of ‘Magnitude of Substance Use in India 2019’ published by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt of India, some findings of Manipuri youth are alarming at the very least, if not shocking;
Based on the 2011 census data, with a meagre total population of just 28.56 lakhs Manipur ranks 8th highest in the country in Prevalence of Alcohol Use, 10th highest in Ganja use, 5th highest in opioids, opium, heroin use, 3rd highest in sedatives, diazepam, sleeping pills and 8th highest in inhalants, dendrite, nail polish remover etc.
It is even more shocking when taken into consideration that our motherland which is known as a sports and cultural powerhouse; punching above its weight in such fields is equally a culprit in substance usage and abuse. For years, our excellence in sports, academics and pioneering in arts and culture have acted as some sort of a smokescreen when it came to our plethora of deficiencies. But the numbers don’t lie.
Although a huge amount of illegal substances have been seized by the concerned authorities in the past 6 years, the challenges remain. An obstacle in the comprehensive war against drugs in our state is our society’s one sided perspective based on half baked knowledge about the extent of mental and physical damage these substances inflict on its victims. Unless we thoroughly understand the magnitude of the problem, we cannot counter the problem of substance usage and abuse.
The menace of drugs and proactive substances stands on the brink of destroying our state’s youth and this presents a bleak future for the coming years as it is the youth who will shape the destiny of the state. Also, the cooperation and realisation on part of parents on this issue is of the utmost significance if Manipur is to win the war against drugs.
Parents should know that their wealth and influence won’t be able to save their precious and pampered children once they start drowning in the world of drugs. At the same time, young boys and girls should know that finding solace in drugs is not the solution to their problems. There is a beautiful world/ a support system of friends and loved ones where one can share happiness and sorrows in equal measure. And this world is a whole lot better than the world of drugs, which keeps pulling one in.
Manipur’s battle against this menace will get even harder. But it is a battle we must win, not for ourselves but for our children.