Thiruvananthapuram: Why are drugs still prevalent in Kerala? This question was the focal point of the discussion, 'Lahari Mayakkam' at Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters (MBIFL) in Kanakakkunnu Palace here on Thursday.
The moderator Pradeep Panangad started by saying that drugs are a common daily term. "In recent years, there has been a gradual increase in the use of drugs in India. Schools and colleges are the main drug use centres as Kerala is sinking into the depths of drug use. The Kerala government has been conducting various awareness campaigns and activities to control drug use and sale. Yet, a large percentage of children are constant victims of drugs," he said.
Pradeep Panangad added that drugs are the most prominent social obstacle the government and our community face in Kerala.
The session started with the launching of the fifth edition of Rishiraj Singh IPS's new book 'Vaikum Munpe', which was handed over to Dr Mohan Roy and Suvritha Kumar.
Rishiraj Singh shared his experience working as the Excise commissioner, where he dealt with many drug cases. In his mission to create awareness among schools about drugs, he visited around 1700 schools and added that if a student stops drug use by his mission, it is a success. He pointed out that children between the ages of 8 and 18 have used a drug. "The primary causes of drug use are curiosity, peer pressure, A+ grade syndrome and boredom," he said.
In his opinion, A+ grade syndrome is one of the primary reasons for the massive increase in drug use because of the constant pressure of parents and teachers in schools.
Rishiraj Singh pointed out that the children do not engage in physical activities as most of them are mobile phone addicted. The main three factors that will help reduce drug usage are family, friends and sports because age 10-15 is crucial in creating awareness and education about drugs, he noted. Parents must talk with their children for at least 20 minutes a day, and they should promote participation in sports, he added.
Dr Mohan Roy talked about the individual and medical impacts of drugs on children and their life. Dr Roy stated that Dopamine is the crucial element that enhances our happiness and how drugs and the body are interconnected. "Our brain only consists of about 2% of our body but produces 20% energy. Drugs release much Dopamine, making us happy and increasing our drive towards drugs. The use of drugs will result in problems such as social anxiety disorder and withdrawal syndromes. The problem, while we are dealing with drug cases, is that we approach it socially instead of making medical treatment. Instead, we shouldn't separate drug users and balance them into our society or create another reason for drug use," he said.
Senior Police officer Suvrithakumar shared his experiences dealing with drug cases and how Kerala is becoming a drug dealing hotspot in our country. He had caught around 2000 students in his time and over 20 students together on multiple occasions. He shared terrible experiences where a son beat his mother up for not giving him money to purchase drugs. "There are plenty of instances where the students are drug dealing in their houses by planting seeds," he added.