National Anti-Drug Addiction Day in India
National Anti-Drug Addiction day is celebrated on the 2nd of October of every year in India. Every child in India knows that the 2nd of October is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti. One of the reasons why National Anti-Drug Addiction day is celebrated on the same day is because Gandhi Ji condemned the use of drugs. On this day, people across the Nation try to increase awareness about drug addiction.
This awareness is a significant remedy for the stigma around addiction. Addiction does not discriminate in age, gender, caste or creed. That’s why everyone needs to be educated about this problem. Teenagers and youngsters are more vulnerable to this problem as they tend to be more experimentative. It is essential to educate students at a young age about addiction.
In this article, let’s briefly understand what drug addiction is and how common it is. In the end, we also explore things you can do as an individual on this National Anti-Drug Addiction Day.
How common is drug use in India?
The use of drugs in India dates centuries back. Due to a lack of proper documentation of the statistics in the past, India has poor policies to control this problem. The National Drug Dependence Treatment Center (NDDTC) and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) conducted a national survey in 2019. Alcohol is the most commonly used substance in India, followed by cannabis and opioids. There are about 16 crore people who consume alcohol in India. Out of these, 5.7 crore people have an alcohol use disorder.
What are substance use disorders?
Substance use disorders are disorders that occur due to the consumption of a substance with psychoactive properties. These substances initially produce a pleasant or relaxing effect which reinforces repeated use. These substances have a negative impact on the individual’s physical and mental health. But the person keeps consuming despite being aware of this as they slowly lose control over it.
The International Classification of Disorders – 11th Edition is a diagnostic manual popularly used in India and other parts of the world. The ICD divides addiction into 18 different categories based on the substance. For example, disorders due to use of alcohol, cocaine, nicotine etc. Each of these has various different disorders under them. For example, harmful pattern of psychoactive substance use, substance dependence, substance withdrawal, substance-induced delirium or other disorders due to substance use.
Addiction is a disorder that affects every aspect of an individual’s life. Their physical health deteriorates, and there is increasing psychological distress. This affects their personal, family, professional and social life. People who abuse drugs are also at a higher risk for infections like Hepatitis and HIV. There are significant financial burdens. Very often, they lose their jobs and take on more debt so they can keep using the substance. If the substance they consume is illegal, it can lead to legal repercussions.
There is a lot of stigma around addiction. This becomes a hurdle for people seeking treatment. Addiction is not a moral deficit, it is a disorder. The substance makes a person act in a self-destructive manner. This happens as the substance makes changes in the brain of the user. Any person suffering from addiction needs proper treatment to get better. The good thing is that treatment is readily available for all substance use disorders.
Some of the most popular treatment methods across India include:
- 12 steps program – Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous etc.
- Evidence-based programs
- Psychotherapy – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Interpersonal Therapy
- Group Therapy
- Holistic programs
- Community model
Along with this, most rehabs also use:
- Family therapy
- Massage therapy
- Experiential therapies
- Meditation and mindfulness
Treatment is available at different levels of settings. If you or someone you know is showing signs of addiction, visit a psychiatrist, psychologist or family doctor. They will be able to guide you on the right path to recovery. You might first have to undergo detoxification, which is the removal of all drugs from your system. This will be done in a hospital setting or a rehab. Post this, you can continue treatment in an Outpatient setting or in a rehab centre.
What can you do on National Anti-Drug Addiction Day?
The first step to spreading awareness and educating others is educating yourself. Read up more about common misconceptions about substance use and addiction. Understand what happens to the body and brain due to these substances. You can do this by reading books and blogs, listening to podcasts or even watching a documentary or a movie.
Educate your children/family.
The next step is to share this information with your loved ones. If you have young children, explain this problem to them in an age-appropriate way.
Check-in with yourself.
If you consume substances, just check in with yourself. Even if you do consume alcohol or other substance, keep track and maintain a journal. Ask yourself if it is affecting your health or family or work in any way. You can also check in with your doctor to get a health check-up. They can also advise you on healthy consumption.
Show support to others.
If you know someone who might be suffering from a substance use disorder, show your support to them. Let them know you are there for them if they need help. If they are on their recovery journey, appreciate how they are doing. It is essential to be compassionate and accepting as they’d already face a lot of stigma. If they haven’t considered taking treatment, you can arrange an intervention. Let them know you care about them and educate them on the treatment options.
Share information on social media.
Social media is a great tool to reach out to a larger audience. You can let people in your circle know that you care about this issue. You can also share some facts or bust some myths. But make sure that you do your research well beforehand.
Volunteer with a local rehab to organise awareness drives.
If you have any rehab centres in your locality, you can inquire if they are conducting any programs for this day. You can offer to volunteer and help them conduct these.
Encourage your workplace to have seminars on this issue.
You can speak to your employer about this. Give them a suggestion that it would be a good idea to address this issue. You can also make it fun by having games like guessing myths and facts. You can discuss about stigma and why it is a problem in the country.
On this National Anti-Drug Addiction Day, let’s educate ourselves and others about this issue. Let’s step away from stigma and judgment. Let’s promote seeking help for any kind of substance use disorder.
National Drug Dependence Treatment Center (NDDTC) & All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). (2019). Magnitude of Substance Use in India. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. https://socialjustice.gov.in/writereaddata/UploadFile/Survey%20Report636935330086452652.pdf
National Health Portal of India. (2016). National Anti Drug Addiction Day. https://www.nhp.gov.in/National-Anti-Drug-Addiction-Day_pg
World Health Organization. (2022). ICD-11 for Mortality and Morbidity Statistics (11th ed.). https://icd.who.int/en