Though today, medicine does not comply with the medicinal practices of ancient civilizations, it is interesting to learn that Sushruta, an ancient Indian healer, used marijuana as a pain reliever. Commonly found plants in India include cannabis, poppy, khat and datura.
While cannabis and opium products were made illegal throughout India, alcohol has remained legal in most states. Ironically there is no dearth of it even in the states where there is prohibition. In the late ‘70’s the Government of Maharashtra, took measures to make alcohol more easily accessible in order to increase the demand for it, thus, raking in Rs. 1900 crores as taxes in the year 2000.
A large number of licences, allowing tea stalls and eating–houses to sell liquor from 6pm to 11 pm were issued. Since the ’80s, industrial night shift workers and college students became the new target group and several bars remained illegally open till 4 am.
Today in India, it is estimated that over five million people are addicted to drugs, mainly heroin, according to the ILO, and they are often examined through a criminal or medical point of view only. Reducing the supply and availability of illicit drugs is an essential component of the fight against drug abuse. UNDCP projects, seek to limit the cultivation, production, trafficking and distribution of drugs. The ILO has agreed to collaborate with industries to establish an Association of Resource Managers Against Drug Abuse–India (ARMADA), whose basic function is to serve as a network for sharing information and experiences among enterprises that have established a preventive program as well as act as a tool for promoting the concept of workplace substance abuse prevention program.
The Community Wide Demand Reduction programme in India, aims at creating the infrastructure for a government–based National Centre for Drug Abuse Prevention and eight NGO–based Regional Resource and Training Centres to mobilize community–based organizations and enterprises to reduce and prevent drug abuse on a nationwide scale. It expects to be set up on a sustainable basis, by directly targeting more than two million people.This project is inter–linked with another UNDCP programme, which is concentrating on assisting the government in establishing the infrastructure to initiate, support and sustain demand reduction activities in the North–Eastern states of India.
Some of the tell tale signs of Drug Abuse
- Attempting to lie.
- Change in quality of work at school or office.
- Changes in attitude and outbreaks of temper for no reason.
- Lack of interest in physical appearance.
- Hiding behind sunglasses.
- Making friends with other substance abusers.
- Stealing or borrowing money or things from friends, co–workers or parents.
- Secretive behavior regarding actions and possessions, poorly concealed attempts to avoid attention and suspicion such as frequent trips to storage rooms, restroom, kitchen, etc.