Say NO – Bolo NA
Highlights of Dr. Anand Nadkarni’s talk on addiction prevention and de-addiction.
Intoxicants like tobacco, alcohol, cannabis etc have existed in nature, and have been used in many societies since ancient times. But the social and religious norms ensured that use did not become abuse. Even in tribal societies, there is alcohol but no alcoholics. However, current statistics are alarming, e.g. one million deaths in India every year due to tobacco related diseases.
Growth of addiction is a relatively modern phenomenon. It is aided by incomplete adaptation of western culture by acceptance of ‘Individualism’ while ignoring its other norms of their lifestyle. Globalization and spread of social media have resulted in easy availability of large variety of addictive substances. Growth of tourism also aids such availability.
Young generation looking for adventure, experimentation or under peer pressure is more susceptible to falling into the trap of substance dependence and addiction. Individuals who use their analytical capacity are able to escape right in the initial stages. Later, it tends to affect people in their most productive years of life. Although tendency for addiction has some genetic causes, it is not hereditary. Parents, friends and societal behaviour, role models like athletes, other achievers and movie personalities have great impact on young minds during impressionable age. Guidance to children should begin at an early age to minimize possibility of addiction in later years.
De-addiction cannot be achieved by moralistic or judgmental approach; it requires empathy for which the older generation should align with the younger generation. Various possible treatments like physical, psychiatric and psychological are more effective when the addicted person gets motivated to quit the habit. Dr. Nadkarni also gave valuable tips on how to recognize if a child is getting addicted, how to open a dialogue and how to provide treatment if need arises. He also pointed out that acceptance or rejection by the society of any addictive substance is a major factor for spread or control.
Speaking of the current Covid19 pandemic, Dr. Nadkarni expressed the apprehension that shrinking of economy will create an epidemic of depression and alcoholism. In his opinion, now every general medical practitioner should be trained to handle such disorders as the existing numbers of psychiatrists and counselors will be overwhelmed by the load. He emphasized the need for empathy with firmness in treating addiction, and quoted ‘There is no hopeless case of addiction’. He recommended that Educational Institutions, NGOs like Rotary and the society at large should come together for a concerted approach to the problem.
The programme was streamed on fb live of RCPuneMetro fb account and also youtube channels which was accessed by more than 1000 viewers on social media platforms.
Contributed by Rtn. Dileep Paranjpye