Say NO – Bolo NA – Prevention of Addiction of drugs
Highlights of interview of Dr. Ashish Deshpande: “DRUGS don’t Use Just Refuse”
Sixth episode of Bolo Na series was skillfully anchored by Rtn. Amita Nene, assisted by Annet Gargi Chaudhary representing the young generation. Our partners in this endeavor by RCPM team led by Rtn. Shilpa were COEP, MCOE, MES and School of Fashion Design
The episode opened with Abhijit, a recovered drug addict from a good family sharing his experiences. He has gone through multiple rehabilitation efforts, sickness, injuries, failed marriages and other serious problems due to addiction. He got into drugs due to peer pressure such as drugs ‘being cool’. He then started blaming his parents of not caring for him. He said when younger people who start taking drugs don’t understand that they are walking into a trap. Seeing his example can be useful in warning them of the dangers of drugs. He also said Narcotics Anonymous, a Global non-profit association which does a lot of work for de-addiction has been a great help for him.
Expert speaker at this session was renowned psychiatrist Dr. Ashish Deshpande, who has done tremendous work on de-addiction. He explained that drugs or alcohol suppress the brain’s thinking area, resulting in loss of control. Pleasure seeking tendency of our organs is controlled by the mind, but such control is weakened by addictive substances. Normal brain mechanism is disrupted and a belief sets in the mind that only consumption of the addictive substance can give pleasure. An addict’s consumption starts with occasional consumption, grows to obsessive consumption and becomes compulsive consumption. Person feels he is in control but does not realize that he is losing it. The persons become delusional, super-confidence and do not understand that they are harming themselves. Different substances such have different potencies of causing harm and addiction. They all act vigorously on the reward circuits of the brain.
Consumption of addictive substances before the age of 21 is 5 times more likely to cause harm than at later age. That is why legally permissible age for drinking is 21 in most countries. Actual number of students who consume drugs is small at present but there is a risk that it may grow as ban on narcotics do not work.
Nobody wishes to become an addict. Addicts are actually victims, they need to be nurtured but social support for them is poor. They are considered to have character deficiency and face social stigma. The family sees that something is wrong, but the affected person does not understand and goes into denial. As of now there are no tests available to identify narcotics addiction. Chances of prevention among potential victims are highest at adolescence or early youth age and recovery rate of 80% is seen if addiction is identified early and help is provided. Best places for this action are educational institutions. Rotary has decided to play a major role through a project named ‘De-addiction Connect’
Take away keywords from this episode are ‘Don’t hesitate to seek help, don’t fall prey to myths! Don’t use, just refuse!