Naveen started stealing from his own house to pay for the drugs, Ajay would hurt himself if he was denied access to drugs and Sidharth regrets many things he did under the influence of drugs. All of them were in their teens when they were first introduced to this evil habit. Thousands of people like them are exposed to substance abuse at a young age. Our research identified 20 hotspots across Delhi, which sell drugs 24 hours. Many chemists are also involved in the business under the cover. Read our exclusive report to understand the problem of drug abuse in Delhi, some amazing reform stories and possible solutions to the problem
Naveen started using drugs in 1998 under the influence of his peers. Residing in Delhi, Naveen was 19 years old when he used the drugs for the very first time. However, it wasn’t his last time and he went on to become a drug addict for next eight years.
“One of my friends first introduced me to hash and then gradually I moved on to Smack,” Naveen recalls. He started stealing from his house to fulfil his increasing desire to take drugs. His dark habits did not remain unnoticed for long. His neighbours found out about Naveen’s addiction and soon his parents got to know about it too. They sent him to a rehabilitation centre. But, Naveen was not ready to give up on the habit yet. He ran away from the centre after 15 days and fell back into the drug abuse.
“My family told me to either leave drugs or leave them, then I made my decision to become clean and went to a rehabilitation centre again. This time I was more determined to change. I stayed there for a year and came out clean,” Naveen says.
“My advise to all the youngsters is that Please don’t do drugs it is a hell in which once you get into its very hard,” he further adds.
Naveen is one of the thousands of people who get addicted to drugs at a young age. Not many are able to overcome this addiction like Naveen and often meet an unexpected end.
A survey conducted by Delhi government’s women and child development department in association with NDDTC at AIIMS shows that around 70, 000 street children are addicted to drugs. The situation is at red alert, crimes related to drugs are also at a rise.
Readily Availability of drugs
There are drug peddlers at every corner of the city. The situation is so worsened that now drugs are available 24 hours in the city. In places like Shubash Nagar, one can buy banned drugs throughout the day. A seller told us that irrespective of whether one came here at five in the morning or 12 at night, one will get the “stuff” easily.
While doing research we identified more than 20 hotspots like Rithala, Subhash Nagar, Nizamuddin Bridge, Paharganj, where drugs are easily available. These drug peddlers operate in slums across the city. Pankaj ( name changed), who hails from Uttar Pradesh and is now studying at IP University Delhi said: “Smoking drugs like marijuana have now become a trend, there are peddlers present near every college.” There are also many chemists in the city who are selling these banned drugs just to earn some extra money.
Drugs Aggravating Crimes
A research conducted by the city’s Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences on over 500 inmates at the Prayas Observation Home For Boys stated that out of the total number of juveniles booked for different crimes, over 87 per cent had a history of substance abuse. Individuals with substance abuse often commit a crime or engage in violence to obtain the drug.
Siddharth, a 20-year-old drug addict from Delhi has been injecting heroin for about a year. His addiction has made him do things, which he regrets deeply.
“My life has become a complete mess at many instances. I stole money from my house. I even stole my mother’s necklace,” Siddharth said.
Ajay Verma who runs a rehabilitation centre named Ujala Foundation in Delhi says: “An addict only cares about his drugs. He is willing to do anything to get his drugs whether robbery, snatching or even murder.”
Addicts who come from poor families often indulge in robberies and theft to get the money for drugs. Due to the increase in drug aggravated crimes among juveniles, the government opened a special correction home for juveniles. This correction home deals with cases of juveniles who have committed a crime under the influence of drugs. This initiative is now managed by a Unesco-affiliated NGO Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM).
Jaspal Kaur, counsellor, SPYM, says: “The number of juveniles coming to the correction home is increasing drastically. Back in 2007 when we started we had five such juveniles, but now we have more than 100 of them. Most of them were involved in robbery and chain snatching and were addicted to smack. The drug costs around Rs. 400 to Rs. 1,000. They indulge in criminal activities to pay for the drugs. I have seen addicts who stole 15 phones and sold one phone daily to get their drugs for the day.”
Is the Government Doing Enough?
In December 2015, the government started opening drug de-addiction centres in hospitals, which had a functional psychiatric department. It identified 11 such hospitals.
On request to remain anonymous, head of the psychiatric department of one such hospital says: “In all these hospitals drug de-addiction is not the primary domain it is just one of the domain. We deal with patients for drug de-addiction very rarely as most of them are unaware of this facility,”
There are only six full-fledged rehabilitation centres that are run by NGO’s and partially funded by the government. In a city where there are 70,000 street children who are addicted to drugs and the total number of addicts are estimated to be in lakhs, just six rehabilitation centres are not enough to tackle the situation.
Following a Delhi Court Order, the municipal corporation served notice to around 100 privately run de-addiction centres to shut down till the further guidelines are issued. This move is highly criticized by many as in city where there is already a shortage of rehabilitation centres closing 100 privately owned centres will make the situation worse.
Shiv Kumar, the father of an addict, says: “This move by the government is making our families’ life hell. We heard about a rehabilitation centre that had a good success rate and we were ready to admit our child there. But now we are stressed, government rehabilitation centres lack proper facilities and most of the privately run centres have been closed or issued to not to take any new admission.”
From Addicts to Warriors.
Ajay Verma, 54, was an addict for 17 years. He was a multiple drug user. “I used to use smack, marijuana, and anything that could get me high,” Ajay says. He was 15 when he started using it. Initially, he managed to buy drugs at regular intervals. But with his increasing desire to do drugs, he started falling short of money. He started stealing from his own house. With every theft, the amount of money he stole increased.
Eventually, his family found out about his habit and forced him to go to a rehab centre. “I used to create a chaos there, I would break windows and cut myself with a knife. When I became more aggressive, the centre expelled me. I then went to an NGO operated by a former drug addict. He was able to understand my problem and sympathize with me. I stayed there for 10 months and came out clean. Now it has been almost 22 years since I have taken any substance. Those 17 years of my life were the hardest for me, the only thing I used to care about was my drugs.” Verma says.
Verma now runs a rehabilitation centre name Ujala Foundation and help the addicts to come out of this dark habit. He believes that those who themselves have experienced this could only understand the pain.
The Possible Solution
It is essential to stop the drug smuggling and keep a check on the peddlers to stop creating new addicts. However, it won’t stop the current addicts as they will find some other way to get drugs. So more rehabilitation centres need to be built.
A public-private partnership between private rehabilitation centres and government is the need for an hour. Delhi also has approximately 500 to 700 private centres, mostly run by recovering addicts who understand both the psyche of the addict and the way back. If the government partners with private rehabilitation centres like the Ujala foundation then the drug abuse situation stand a chance to come to a halt. .
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On Wed, Jun 27, 2018 at 1:06 AM The Stories of Change wrote:
> Rahul Satija posted: “Naveen started stealing from his own house to pay > for the drugs, Ajay would hurt himself if he was denied access to drugs and > Sidharth regrets many things he did under the influence of drugs. All of > them were in their teens when they were first introduced” >
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