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Blowing Off The Lid : Drug Culture In The Youth

By Hamsini

In India, our society seems to have a pact of not discussing things that everyone knows. Either the society closes its eyes and ignores these problems, refusing to acknowledge its presence or it rages against it, deeming the topic impure. One of the major problems that we face in India is that of drugs and while the youth (who are caught up in this racket) know all about it, no mention of it will be made to their orthodox parents.

It’s just a reaction to be counter culture and a means of satisfaction towards achieving a realization that we are too afraid to embrace in reality. And of course, it being a subversive “wannabeness” to assimilate into some commercialized, Satan worshipping, uber cool culture” says Rahul*, a student speaking about drug culture in India.

Today’s youth accept the little white powders as a normal trend akin to doing assignments. A large proportion of these students, educated and aware as they are, consume these drugs. Common narcotics used by these youngsters include weed, hashish, pot (marijuana), crack (cocaine), bhaang (cannabis) and ganja (all of these substances are banned and possession of the same could lead to jail terms).

The “Why factor” is a question that can be answered in different ways. Aditya, an engineering student, sums up the entire situation, “We all have different reasons. I simply enjoy being better than what I normally am. The other guys do it because they adhere to social etiquette much more pointlessly. So, abandoning it becomes all the more important for them, and what better excuse than being under the influence? Another group do it because they intend to escape their life, their worries, their sorrows; to stop all the thoughts they have when they are normal, to just be themselves, and not worry about the life they seem to have trapped themselves in. Yet another group do it consciously, either to destroy their life, or because they hate their normal selves.

Where do they get these drugs from and from whom? Of course, the latter part of the question silences most of the people. The first part of the question seems to be common knowledge though. “All you have to do is go stand on select roads in Shivaji Nagar with a cigarette and right people will approach you on their own. Auto drivers will also be able to tell you where and whom to buy it from if you know how to approach them” Says Krishna*, a student nonchalantly. You could mistake his tone of voice for directions to the shop with the best misal pav in the city.



The “high” that one gets on drugs is said to be unparalleled. Aditya, elaborates: “It's abandon. Abandoning all the conscious make up you put on, in the name of society. Your subconscious takes over, and you are truly who you are. Medically, that's because of an increase in the amine (I think Dopamine) that's responsible for nerve responses, making your thoughts fire at a rate ten times higher than normal. At our worst, thoughts appear in our head in comic frames. So, basically, a high feels like exactly that- a higher level of consciousness and clarity.

A common perception amongst students is that one will be at the heights of his creativity when he is high. Popular culture seems to be a testament to the fact. All the greatest musicians did it : Lennon, Dylan, Madonna, Cobain, Keidis, Elton John, Ozzy Osbourne and countless others. Many feel that smoking up for artistic inspiration seems justified just because some legends in the field have done so.

But what cost would one pay for inspiration? Aditya answers, “It's a grey area. Drugs are artificial stimulants, accelerators of all creative action. It isn't exactly illegal, but it is cheating yourself. You can use steroids to build a good body, but that's insulting the hard work of all the people who did it clean, and also succumbing to the fact that you aren't as great as them, to do it with aid. The moment you turn to drugs to pull off a good work of art, it's like you have accepted that you want to be something better than you are, effectively confirming that you aren't pleased with who you are. There'll always be the niggling doubt that the work you produced wasn't "your" work. You will never completely own it; never completely deserve the title of being the creator, the mother of this work. It is a massive price to pay, and any who so desire to produce something wonderful at such a heavy price may do so at their own discretion.

This is a price that many choose to pay. Drug addiction is a serious concern, the overdose of which could lead to death. Its detrimental side effects ruin relationships and the life of the addict. At the end of the day, drugs exist. There's no fighting that fact. So do painkillers. The judicious usage of these products is left to the conscience of the users. But the other users are to bear responsibility for their stupid, mindless actions.

In short, it's all in the mind, truly.

*Names changed on request

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Hamsini
Basically I write, I read and I dream up fairytales. The rest of the time, I nibble at food, sing songs off tune, and pretend to be a hotshot photographer. I also love the wind in my hair, basking in the sun, a healthy dose of cynicism and coffee on the rocks.

 

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