Sikkimese, we pride ourselves in being one of the most developed and progressive people in the north eastern regions. We have had the boom of tourism and we have numerous amount of tourist both foreign and local swarming in our tiny Himalayan state. Though our economy seems to be moving upward we have our fair share of problems, the mountain makes it a difficult terrain for good roads, 24 hours electricity still seems like a pipedream in some areas and unemployment, the devil that resides in almost any home with a young adult present, is still at large. However these problems seem to be talked about so much that everyone knows what is up, everyone have their own opinions and their own ideas on how to fix these problems. All the political parties seems to have a major breakthrough that they would want to employ to fix these problems, however there is a demon that lurks in the dark, everybody can feel its breath on their skins but no one wants to acknowledge its presence. It seems talking about it is such a taboo that any conversation that might lead up to it is dissipated into a hush hush.
The problem that I am talking about is addiction and substance abuse. It seems everyone in our society have turned their cheeks to this monstrosity. We have had numerous cases were we have lost a dear one because of this problem yet we are so ashamed to talk about it that it dies away with that person.
The drug problem is so prevalent in our community that it doesn’t only affect the youth of the society as is the case around the world. In Sikkim it is not a new thing for students of standard 4 or 5 to already be a slave to it. The glorification of drugs and marijuana in the recent pop culture seems to have left a mark on our developing community. The idea of being westernized, of being hip, is now associated with life with drugs. Small kids who should be out in the playground enjoying the beauty of childhood are found in jungles and bamboo grooves getting high on a joint.
The distant, fixed and soulless stare of a substance abuser is very hard to miss yet we as a society have somehow collectively decided to look the other way. Lack of dreams, ambitions or motivation to live is so very evident amongst these users. We fail to realize that as the population of these abusers is increasing it is us as a society that we are losing the ability to dream, to move forward and to progress.
We as a society have somehow become ok with people getting into marijuana, I have heard from numerous parents that they hope their child don’t get into anything chemical and stick to what is natural. There might be overwhelming pros of smoking pot but in our society when children are using it, something has to be done to keep it in check. The idea of marijuana being a gateway drug might seem like connecting two very distant dots but we have to look at it through the eyes of a 10 or 11 year old child. That child would’ve known nothing but the high that helps him or her escape from any problem, the idea of being able to completely ignore a problem will have become so natural to the child will have no idea on how to face any problem. The look for a better high to deal with tougher problems will almost definitely end with him knocking on the doors of some higher drugs.
In the end all I want is we as a society stop taking these drug problems in a nonchalant way. Let us wake up to the problem before it is too late. Let us try to cherry pick the best from the western culture and not be caught up in a fad that can destroy our community. Let us help those kids learn to dream again.