Drug abuse and illicit traffickingJul 5th, 2009 | By editor | Category: Readers Say, Viewing News
We just observed June 26 as ‘the international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking.’ Drug abuse prevention has two dimensions to it. Supply reduction and demand reduction. Supply reduction has to do with dealing with illicit drug trafficking, law enforcement, etc (what our Narcotic control bureau does). Demand reduction, on the other hand, is in the hands of individuals, families and society. Are we missing out on important details in the big picture ? Strengthening family, the smallest, basic and most important part of society, has to take precedence over everything else. The parenting style today is either too authoritarian or permissive. Parents want to be either the child’s friend or the dictator. Communication is hampered in both cases.
Do parents know or even bother to find out where their adolescent children have been all night? Where do they hang out? What kind of friends do the children have? Do they know their children’s friends or what they do when they generally go out with friends? Having an open house and being open to having friends come over helps. Open discussions about myths related to alcohol and drug abuse are important. Children today have an overload of information. Keeping a check on the child’s source of information would be helpful.
What kind of values do we impart in our children? For demand reduction to happen, children need something to fall back on. What better option than a happy home environment? A home founded on trust, understanding, mutual respect, a sense of accountability and role-modelling. At the end of the day, a sense of security and belonging that a child feels at home really counts. Can we as families, as a society create homes that are based on faith where the child feels accountable to self and the family for his/her actions and choices?
The kind of attitude parents have towards alcohol and drugs speaks strongly to the children. Loving parents and happy home environments alone do not do the trick. They do not reduce the risk factor. Other aspects need to be looked into here.
The formative years of a child’s life is spent in school. Teachers have a role to play. The average age of first use of alcohol has dropped to 13. Teachers can detect behaviour changes in children like grades dropping, poor concentration, being withdrawn, increased anger , etc.
Awareness among teachers and parents about drugs abused today needs to go up. Awareness about the problems and pressures that youngsters face today is important.
College professors can also contribute to combat the menace of alcohol and drugs. Declaring that ours is ‘an alcohol- and-drug-free campus’ alone doesn’t help. We’re merely living in denial. Closing our eyes to the problem doesn’t mean that the problem does not exist. Maintaining a non-judgemental attitude helps in dealing with people who have a drug or alcohol problem.
Over and above managing all extrinsic factors, we must teach our children to be assertive; to say ‘no, thank you’. Our attitude today is that if it doesn’t affect me, it doesn’t concern me.
We can either choose to sit and crib about these problems or we can start doing something to fight this battle in our own small (but definitely important) way. Let’s walk the talk.