Drugs and allied attractions have always been a part of the socio-economic backdrop providing relief when need be or simply wrecking the innocence of the mind. The innate desire of human beings to feel relaxed, stimulated or euphoric has been the root cause of substance abuse since time immemorial.

As the centuries unrolled and new civilizations appeared cultural, artistic, medical developments shifted towards new centres of power, addictive potential of cocaine, heroin, morphine etc. became known and their use was in full swing up till the American civil war. Apart from these a majority of human societies throughout history have practiced recreational drug use in various forms like alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. However, despite relatively recent proscription as an illegal drug in most of the world, marijuana retains its historical popularity.

After World War II a new generation of young people began to frequent urban jazz clubs where musicians often used marijuana and other drugs. As teenagers started using them they realized that many of the scientific claims made against marijuana were untrue. It did not cause violence or hysterical behaviour. It was not particularly addictive and it appeared to have few lasting effects on the user in the days and weeks following a dose. This finding led various people to mistakenly doubt all information they had received about marijuana. This created a climate of illegal drug experimentation that has lasted till the 21st century.

As we can see, the use and abuse of drugs is as old as civilizations itself. It manifests itself through various forms of experimentation starting with people in their teen years. The strong need to belong, combined with peer influence, all too often convinces youngsters to drink or use drugs all in the name of fun or being cool. Many a times, recreational drug use turns into drug abuse leading to dire consequences. The individual engaging in drug abuse may start using drugs alone instead of socially and become more secretive and elusive.

Living up to the worthy expectations becomes difficult for the youth especially in the contemporary world, forcing them to inculcate such hazardous habits. By doing so they get caught in a no-man’s land of confusion and fuzzy self-image.

The biggest impediment in the way of absolution from drug abuse is the feeling of self-denial. The urge to use drugs is so strong that the mind finds many ways to rationalize this act. Denial is an unconscious defence mechanism and it has to be obliterated in order to move towards a fast recovery.

Ultimately, admittance of this infliction is the best move forward. Although it takes stupendous courage to do so and the person involved may feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with the withdrawal symptoms, but it needs to be done. Only then can a person irrevocably move towards the stage of self-recovery. A blithe attitude towards this problem is uncalled for and so is shunning a person who is involved in substance abuse. We need to have a broad mindset and stop this activity from becoming a malignant curse.

Tina Jindal

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