There is a worldwide consensus that misuse of drugs and alcohol is on the rise and India is no exception when it comes to this dubious trend. From plant-based drugs such as cannabis, cocaine and heroin to synthetic drugs such as LSD, consumption of narcotic substances in India has increased manifold in recent years. Substance Abuse is a major malaise that our youth faces today. The same has happened with alcohol, more so with illegal and cheap country made alcohol. Vaping is a serious trend sweeping our nation and our youth are very intrigued and susceptible to this dangerous fad.

The rise in consumption of drugs and alcohol harms both the individual and the society at large, so much so that it has its impact rooted in the most democratic process of our country – the elections. I have thoroughly recced all of Odisha during the local body elections now. And my observations tell me that a large part of the local-rural youth is getting addicted to drugs and alcohol. It is disheartening for me to see the future of the nation being trapped in a loop of addiction. Regardless of the substance, drug use can cause serious and potentially detrimental long-term effects on adolescent behavior and brain development. A national survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that although many teens report using drugs occasionally, about 8% of them ages 12 and older meet the criteria for a substance use disorder. The statistic is both astonishing and alarming at the same time.

It doesn’t take a lot of mental effort to realize that drugs and alcohol do actually give us momentary pleasure. But those moments are temporary illusions, what follows is, the risk of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and psychosis. This puts their health and career at risk. That’s a permanent dent on the life. It also affects the family in the long run.

The butterfly generation gets loads of money from their parents or guardians which makes it easy to consume drugs and alcohol. It has become a trend, a second habit amongst young people to consume drugs, to a point that convincing them is impossible. So it is important that parents and guardians hold an open and honest conversation with children at the age of adolescence. Parents should express calm, consistent standards about drug and alcohol use. Because to get over addiction in itself is a long war full of struggle which is worthy.

I belong from a place and time where drugs weren’t available so easily. In substitution, there were other vices like tobacco and cigarette consumed by people. However, I have never touched any of these vices. Sone friends around me got addicted, but I always advised and explained them to stay away from it. Even though I am a social person and I meet plenty of people who consume cigarettes and alcohol, nothing has ever compelled me to try it. I understand the occasional drinking that people do to socialize but nothing justifies addiction- be it drugs or alcohol. I always encourage people to avoid these vices.

By the grace of God, I have kept myself away from all vices even though I am around it. Even as a kid, twice I had opened a temporary paan counter during Durga Puja in our village to make some money to finance my education, but I never thought of consuming it. I can humbly state that this discipline and steadfast dedication towards my aim with the blessings of god has made me reach where I am today. I walk the talk and that is why managing such giant institutions like KIIT and KISS with the youth population ranging in many thousands with transperancy and honesty has been difficult but possible. I explain students about the harmful effects of addiction and how to focus on career and stay away from any form of excesses and abuse. Ultimately, the key to our actions and thoughts is in our hands and we should know how to control it. After all, only in moderation is the real fun!