COUNTERING THE DRUG MENACE
New Delhi September 11:
Drug abuse and its illicit trafficking not only lead to a complex set of social, medical and psychological problems, but also have an adverse effect on the world economy. Despite concerted efforts by the international community to prevent misuse of drugs and its illegal trafficking, it continues to flourish in several parts of the globe.
Production of drugs and its trade has so far shown no signs of decline. Instead, the trade in illegal drugs has now become a multi-billion dollar global business. According to the UN estimates, more than 50 million people across the globe are regular users of heroin, cocaine and synthetic drugs like Ecstasy. The UN report claims that millions of others are directly or indirectly involved in its production, trafficking or sale.
The latest findings by the UN agencies state that illegal global drug trade generates a whopping USD 400 billion a year, providing employment opportunities to thousands of people both legally and illegally. Drugs business is also controlled by the demand and supply factor as in any other industry. The prices of drugs escalate if there is any shortage of raw material like coca leaf or opium. Similarly, the prices go down if the raw material and drugs are available in abundance.
According to experts, fighting drug menace has become an uphill task, as it is widely prevalent, cutting across age, class and gender. The easy availability of drugs, curiosity, peer approval are the factors responsible for drug abuse among the youth. According to psychiatrists, the addicts also indulge in high-risk behaviours such as unsafe sex and needle sharing, which further contribute to the spread of contagious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C.
Making the fight against drugs a difficult task, a large number of people, who are often referred to as “hidden population” refuse to take up any medical help to get rid of it. The matter by and large remains unreported and thus makes it difficult for the international agencies to assess the problem, estimate costs, both social and economic, and formulate intervention strategies.