In Punjab, money and access fuel a growing drug habit

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Blackwater, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    New Delhi: On a muggy evening in the north Indian city of Amritsar, Sunil Sharma prepares for another heroin hit in a decrepit, abandoned building.

    Before inhaling the fumes of his brown paste heated on a piece of tinfoil, the 23-year-old explained he had tried heroin for the first time six months ago when his girlfriend left him to marry another man.

    "I feel bad... why have I become like this? Why have I tied this noose around my neck?" he told AFP, slurring his words.

    There are thousands like him across the state of Punjab, which leads the country in drug-related crime with a rate that is nearly ten times the national average, according to police records.

    In an affidavit submitted in 2009 to the state high court, the local government estimated that 67 per cent of all rural households in Punjab were home to at least one drug addict.

    Located on a long-standing smuggling route that sees heroin transported from Afghanistan via neighbouring Pakistan and on to markets elsewhere in the region, Punjab is now increasingly a final destination for the contraband.

    When local couriers involved in smuggling "came to know that drugs have a lot of profit then they began to indulge in local selling of these things," says S. Boopathi, assistant inspector general of the state police narcotics cell.

    He said it was impossible to estimate the amount of drugs crossing Punjab, but added that "trade is huge".

    Rajiv Walia, regional coordinator at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) told AFP that Punjab had "a serious problem because it borders trafficking routes and drug-producing regions."

    "You will do anything to support the habit"

    In the 1970s, Punjab was regarded as India's "bread basket", due to its fertile soil, prosperous farmer community and booming agricultural output.

    Some, like former addict Navneet Singh, see the growing appetite for drugs as "a problem of abundance."

    Singh, a successful restaurant owner who has been clean for 11 years, grew up in a wealthy family.

    He believes that Punjab's relative affluence and its cultural norms, coupled with the easy access to drugs, make addiction a commonplace reality.

    "Punjab has a very macho culture, very prone to showing off. It's a ready-made market for drugs," the 38-year-old told AFP.

    "What does the Punjabi do when he gets rich? He buys an SUV, a gun and he gets high," he said.

    "Then as time passes and you get addicted you will do anything to support the habit," he added.

    Doctor JPS Bhatia has witnessed the problem of addiction in Punjab from close quarters.

    When the psychiatrist set up his hospital in 1991, he would see one or two drug-related cases a week.

    Today, out of the 130 patients he sees every day, some 70 to 80 per cent are battling drug addiction, he tells AFP.

    In response to the expanding scale of the problem, Bhatia set up a rehab centre for recovering addicts in 2003.

    "I see cases where the son is into addiction, the father is into addiction...the whole family is sick," he says, comparing the state's situation to "a ticking time bomb".

    Those who are too poor to afford heroin or cocaine take to swallowing or injecting cheap prescription drugs or consuming a locally-produced crude form of opium called "bhukki", a tea-like drink made from ground poppy husk.

    "I can't see a way out of my life"

    The Amritsar neighbourhood of Maqboolpura has lost so many young men to overdoses or drug-related illnesses, that it is locally known as "the village of widows".

    Schoolmaster Ajit Singh has two cousins who are addicted to crude forms of heroin. Another cousin, whose morphine habit saw him leave home to beg on the streets, died at the age of 31.

    According to Singh, who grew up in Maqboolpura, the working class community here began to dabble in the sale of opium in the 1960s, when they realised how lucrative the business could be.

    "First, it was an easy way to make money. Then they developed a taste for the stuff," he said.

    Today, he estimates that each house along the 13 narrow streets that make up this neighbourhood is home to at least one drug addict.

    Unlike his older cousins, Singh managed to finish school and he became a teacher of political science and a local community worker.

    He began by offering evening classes to local children whose fathers had fallen victim to addiction and went on to found a school for more than 600 pupils.

    Local mother, Kiran Kaur whose two children attend the school, worries for her husband who has struggled to find work as a labourer since developing a prescription drug habit.

    "I have asked him many times to quit but I don't think he can do it," the 32-year-old sighed.

    As she waited for her children to finish class, she added: "I can't see a way out of my life, but things can be different for my children if they study hard."


    In Punjab, money and access fuel a growing drug habit | NDTV.com
     
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  3. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    bera gark kar diya punjab ka ,cloud and king ne
     
    lcatejas likes this.
  4. GPM

    GPM Tihar Jail Banned

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    Kisim ne bera garak nahin kiya. Farmers have lot of money, and are into all sorts of evil habits, heroin tops.
     
  5. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    iam also from punjab, my dad is also got farming and land money.iam not drugi
     
  6. GPM

    GPM Tihar Jail Banned

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    Of course all not druggies, but most jat boys are.
     
  7. Raj30

    Raj30 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Opium Wars: From China to India

    I have always maintained that History can give many valuable lessons for future civilizations. Those lessons can espouse what course of action to take and what not to to take in development of any civilization. Today, I would like you to walk with me through the ups and downs of Chinese people during the mid 18th century. In the second half of this article you will realize why I bothered to tell you a lengthy story in the first place.
    [​IMG]



    Before I begin, I would like to say that I don’t believe in the concept of China being an inward society. While rest of Asia was opening up to west, China also had decided to take the same course. The proof of this can be seen when you read about many jesuits being admitted in the courts of last Ming emperors and The great Manchu emperors due to their eagerness to translate western scientific and technical works into Chinese. This stopped only after the famous Rites controversy where the Catholic church decided that Chinese customs were not to be tolerated. Also, by this time they were aware of developments in long-time trade partner India and how foreign traders now were actively governing the politics of that land. Even after that there was a Russian Mission maintained into China throughout and vice-versa.

    Western imperial forces, British and American specifically, had become very keen on doing business with China by now. Chinese had very rigid outlook about these foreign traders and they were only allowed to trade from one port- Canton. A special district of the city, “Thirteen factories” was reserved for American and English traders who came to buy products like Silk, nankeens, and Tea, which had already become the national drink of many European countries. On the other hand China was not very interested in trading with them. Lazarist Evariste Huc noted in 1844 after a long inlad journey of China:

    “One excellent reason why China is only moderately fond of trading with foreigners is that her home trade is immense…it is such a vast, rich and varied country country that internal trade is more than enough to occupy the part of nation which can perform commercial actions… everywhere there is movement and feverish activity which is not to be found even in the largest towns of Europe.”

    Now, what happens when products of China are sought out by others but the chinese don’t care about the products made in Europe? Trade was uneven and they were bleeding through their noses paying for all the purchases in Mexican silver. During this time the British came up with an ingenius idea. Dent & Comapany and Jardine & Matheson were two of the companies who had got permission to operate out of Canton. They started buying Opium in Bengal, where it was cheaply produced by the subjects of East India Company, and smuggling it into China. Similarly, the American Hong (business houses) started to buy their opium from Turkey and smuggled it into China. Between 1820 and 1835, Opium smuggling developed all across the East China coast.

    Opium was known to chinese since a long time and was strictly used for medicinal purposes. It was the first time when it started to be used as a vice. The first to use it were rich young men, then started the small shopkeepers, peddlers, low-rank officials, servants of the mandarins and then the entire army. Around 1835, senior officials and generals assumed that approximately 90% of their staff were addicts. Lin Ze-Xu, a high ranking chinese official, estimated around 4 Million opium addicts whereas a British doctor from Canton estimated the number of opium smokers to be 12 million. Lin Ze-Xu wrote:

    “If we continue this trade to flourish, in a few dozen years we will find ourselves not only with no soldiers to resist the enemy but also with no money to equip the army…”

    Period Crates Smuggled
    1820-1825 9708 Crates per year
    1825-1830 18,712 Crates per year
    1830-1935 35,445 Crates per year


    The demand of Opium grew in China exponentially. Now the normal sale of goods from China to west could not balance the requirement of Opium. This difference was made up by sale of Chinese silver which was prized by the westerners due to its fine quality. In 1837 Opium represented 57% of Chinese imports. Between 1828 and 1836 China exported 38 Million Spanish dollars in silver to out of which 4.5 Million was in 1835-36 alone. These developments lead to 2 opium wars and Chinese submission to western imperialistic forces. It could not recover from for more than a century.


    Now forget that boring history lesson. Cut and zoom to present day India. Punjab.

    Our Pakistani friends, after many lost wars and the failed Khalistan movement, have finally found their jackpot. Strategy is to supply drugs into India which serves two purposes- destroying youth and gathering money for their future operations. And this fact is not new or something which I am saying out of thin air. A report of Intelligence bureau from 1975 says, Pakistan, newly defeated in the 1971 war, would hit back at India through many clandestine means, one of which would be to convert the youth of Punjab into drug addicts who could then be “trampled down like a weed”.



    Today 75% of Punjab’s youth is addicted to drugs. This figure was furnished by the Punjab authorities themselves to High court in 2009. Every third college student is hooked. You will find one member in every third family you visit, who is an addict. Smack, Heroine, LSD, speed, you name it and it is available. 30% of the inmates in jails are caught under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. You will find 11-15 year old children begging for money with arms covered in needle marks, sometimes dripping with pus. Doaba or Majha districts were always known for poppy production but this large-scale influx of drugs and expertise to process synthetic drugs is shocking.

    But why blame ISI alone. What have the opportunists from this side of border done? Our politicians have not only sheltered drug traffickers, but have started dishing out drugs to people for votes. The Election Commission’s seizure of drugs worth Rs. 40 crore during the Punjab election season has drawn attention to the widespread use of drugs — ranging from intoxicating tablets and syrups to Poppy seeds and heroine- to woo voters to their side. (Hindustan Times) A week before the polling date, EC officials had impounded close to 3 lakh capsules along with 2,000 injection vials of Avil and 3,000 cases of Recodex cough syrup.

    “We believe that the drugs were for electoral purposes,” deputy election commissioner Alok Shukla has said.
    Question is, how do these drugs enter India? After all, we have 553 kms long border covered with electric fencing which covers almost all of Punjab. Well, it is activated only after 6 Pm in summers and 4 Pm in winters. Strangely, the smugglers don’t have to think of anything smart, they just need to take advantage of the false sense of security that we have. BSF officials have many other disturbing and chilling stories to tell. One friend from CRPF who was recently posted there tells me that he could find peddlers openly selling and storing drugs in Amritsar. A BSF officer has other chilling story to tell (Tehalka)-

    “We conducted a recruitment drive in Tarn Taran district in May 2009. There were 376 vacancies. More than 8,000 young men turned up. But most of these men were so unfit and weak we had to come back with 85 vacancies. The drug abuse here will soon have serious security implications. These boys’ forefathers were strong and healthy so their bodies could bear the brunt of the intoxicants they abused. But these boys are different. Constant abuse has eroded their bodies. Put all four generations together and you will notice the difference. It doesn’t take much to imagine what the current lot of 5-10 year olds will look like if they fall into the drug trap.”

    Young people are injecting drugs like coaxil and AVL (Phenara mine maleate) injection fluid, a drug meant to treat respiratory failure in cattle and horses. You can easily make out the increased use of drugs amongst youngsters in entire country and surprisingly we don’t have any effective fighting mechanism or even awareness about it. If this menace is not curbed right now, within a few decades the entire nation will have to kneel down.

    The question to ask is, are we ready for an entire generation to be raised as addicts who cannot think of a future beyond their next hit?

    Drug addicts at the Kazikot village in Tarn Taran district
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
    parijataka likes this.

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