“Drugs are substances that change a person’s mental or physical state. They can affect the way your brain works, how you feel and behave, your understanding and your senses”. Addiction to drugs not only effects the individual but also disrupts their families and society as a whole. Drug abuse among school students is on the rise at an alarming rate. There is a significant problem among children not just because of the usage but also because they are being affected and abused by those around them who use drugs.

Some of the drugs can make a person addicted with just one intake. Hence the drug menace is a very serious issue. We should be aware of drug peddling, its harmful effects, its marketing tactics and the target age group so as to educate our children and caution them on drug circulation and abuse.

Why do people use drugs?

This is “THE MOST” indispensable question to ask ourselves in order to help our children, school goers, teens and youngsters.

  1. Lack of Communication – It is a sad reality that children don’t get exclusive quality time with parents to share their experiences of the day. Even mom’s are pre occupied with whole lot of tasks whether it be office job or within home. Time with children are taken for granted and given least preference. The easiest thing to sideline is the time with family and children. Many parents try to wipe out the guilt of not spending time with kids by providing them with material gifts, favourite food, engaging them in extra curricular activities, promising a trip to resort or parks on holidays, buying toys, giving them access to gadgets to play games, extra pocket money, party with friends etc.. Nothing can substitute your exclusive daily quality time with your chidren. The little tips and advises we give them during a relaxed sharing gets etched into their heart better than the big lessons we try to explain after an untoward incident. The stress the little blossoming heart go through of not having their parents to share every little things of their day is immense.
  2. Coping with stress – Broken homes, dysfunctional families, extra marital affairs of spouses, academic pressure, fear of failure, fear to face challenges of life, peer pressure, quest to find acceptance and identity etc. are some of the main causes of emotional and mental disturbances among the young minds.
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  3. Gadgets and social media – Covid has exposed our children to the digital world with all its negative impacts. Most of the movies and Television shows feature drugs to create curiosity, sensation and to drive the storyline. Entertainment shows, reality shows, netflix and other movies irrespective of the genre has a powerful impact on how the young generation look at drugs and its abuse. Watching movies repeatedly that portrays comedic view of drugs, casual intake of drugs, heroic act by substance use or as a symbol of status etc. minimizes the serious effects of drug use. By this unfair and imbalanced picture of substance use, young children fall prey to drugs.
  4. Channel for quick money making – Now a days children demand pocket money. Unfortunately, most of them neither know money management nor do they value it. Misuse of pocket money can lead to antisocial activities like drug consumption. Children demand money from parents for many reason . If their needs are not met, drug peddling is an easy way of quick money making. By just handing over a small packet at the said location and person might earn them good amount to fulfil their desires. Drug peddlers are targeting such children to their net.
  5. Curiosity – Young minds are discoverers and explorers. It is the developmental phase of their brain. We should educate them on risk appreciations involved in consuming drugs. Many drugs circulated now are those that will make one addicted to it by just 1-2 ingestion. This can seriously hamper the progressive development of the brain which in turn can be a cause of social, psychological, mental and even behavioural problems in children.
  6. Peer pressure – Some of the children give in to the pressure from friends. Our children might have friends who consume drugs or might be a part of drug peddling. There might be seniors who are careers. We need to have good rapport with the friends of our children. It is always better to also have a general understanding of the other students who commute with them in school bus/ vans.
  7. Excessive freedom – Today’s generation want to live their life according to their own terms and conditions. They don’t want to be restricted for anything. They think, they have the understanding of all good and evil. Many parents are also of the same outlook. No objection/monitoring – on late night partying, sleep overs in friend’s homes, in spending money, in the dress they wear, food they eat, games they play, gadgets they use, books/magazines they read, movies/dramas they watch, time they go to bed, time they wake up in the morning etc. This fenceless freedom is one of the major causes of children ending up in wrong and dangerous habits.

Some of the common symptoms of a person taking drugs are:

  1. Lack of appetite
  2. Lack of sleep at night
  3. Withdrawing themselves from family and church members & Social life
  4. Demanding money
  5. Frequently visiting some specific set of friends even at odd hours
  6. Moving out at night to have tea/coffee
  7. Bloodshot eyes
  8. Sometimes seen restless if the substance is not received on time
  9. Defensive and reacting aggressively
  10. Tired and grimy appearance

The drug menace in India especially Kerala is spreading in a very fast pace. Awareness about the harmful effects of drugs has to be a continuous process in our homes, offices, work places, schools, societies, apartments and colleges. We will not be left with a stable minded responsible citizen in the next generation and onwards, if we don’t collectively work towards abolishing drugs from our society. Despite of all precautions, there are chances of getting into the trap of drugs.

The primary reason of man falling into these evil is because we have the sinful nature in us. The Holy Bible says in Romans 3:10 – There is no righteous person, not even one. Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Thus Bible very clearly states that sin keeps us away from God and Godliness. The truth is, we cannot do anything to save ourselves from this sinful state. Therefore, God sent His Son Lord Jesus Christ to take the punishment of our sins on Himself and bring salvation unto us. Believing in Christ Jesus not only reconciles us with God but also promises all heavenly blessings which includes everything pertaining to life and godliness. Christ has liberated us from the clutches of sin. If you don’t trust and depend on the liberty of sin and the abundant life that Christ gives you that means you don’t trust in the sufficiency of Christ to satisfy you. This unbelief makes you vulnerable to give yourself up to the bondage and slavery of harmful substances or state of your mind. Once you lack self-control, you fail to even repent for any wrong you do to self or society. It will lead you to become an anti-social element. Let’s fight the battle of drugs together and safeguard our generation and nation.