There’s been a marked uptick in so-called deaths of despair, those involving drugs, alcohol or suicide among youth in the last three years.
While speaking in the state legislative assembly, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis informed, “According to data provided by the Maharashtra crime branch. In the last three years (2014 – 2016), people in the age group committed suicide due to drug and alcohol use. 1,063 males and 12 females took their own life. In total, 1,075 youngsters lost their life. Information for 2017 is in the process of being collected.”
He added, “To curb the consumption of drugs various programmes have been organised. Drugs Free Campus is an initiative which has started since January 2015 in college campuses. Awareness drives are also on. During festivals, like Ganeshotsav, Navratri, Dahi Handi etc, awareness programmes are held to make youngsters aware of the ill-effects of drug use.”
CM Fadnavis further explained. “June 26 is observed as International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. June 26 to June 10 is observed as anti-drugs fortnight. During this period, students are informed about negative effects of drugs. Films and presentations are shown, discussions and seminars are held. Rallies, marathons and awareness meetings are held.”
While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Yusuf Matcheswalla, a senior psychiatrist, HOD of Psychiatric Department at GT Hospital, said, “In comparison to Bihar, drugs consumption has increased in Maharashtra. The incidence is rising in youngsters. Even children below 15 years of age consume such products. Each day in Mumbai, 300 to 400 youngsters are tempted by drugs.”
He added, “Youngsters go into depression or turn violent when they are unable to get drugs. And in such situations they can harm themselves. People lose their lives to drugs. People can also get infected with HIV due to intravenous drug use. The death toll rises due to this.”
Dr Pradeep Patkar, a Mumbai-based psychiatrist, said, “There are many reasons for depression in youngsters. Excessive money spent on education, thoughts about their job, family responsibilities can cause depression.”
He elaborated, “Youngsters get easily influenced and addicted to drugs. The go on the path to suicide. If youth don’t receive support from their family they can get lonely and slip into depression. They don’t have hopes for their future and commit suicide. A law should be brought by the government to prevent drug use. The society should also oppose this to help stop the menace of drug addiction.”