Drug Abuse: AIR Broadcasts Discussion On Its Containment And Ill Effects

The Hyderabad Station of All India Radio on Friday broadcast a panel discussion on drug abuse, which has been playing out in the media commencing the last week of June. Ill effects of gudumba and laced toddy also came under scrutiny.

Hyderabad: Both the Centre and States, including Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, are viewing with concern the huge drugs bust in Hyderabad and its environs. Not only are multiple investigative agencies coordinating, but even the State-controlled media, like the All India Radio (AIR), have been pressed into service to educate people about the menace. A panel discussion, including questions and suggestions from listeners, was broadcast by the AIR Hyderabad A station on Friday morning.

As already known, a case of large-scale abuse of drugs was busted by Enforcement and Excise authorities in the last week of June in and around Hyderabad. Since then, the issue has been under the focus of the media. Abusers include multinational employees, film professionals and vulnerable school and college children.

Drugs were mainly procured from the tourist haven of Goa, a place known for availability of a wide-variety of drugs.

Thrust of the Centre-States awareness campaign in Telangana has not been limited just to drugs, but also gudumba and laced toddy. Gudumba is illicit liquor largely spiked with chloral hydrate, whose accidental increase in percentage component can lead to large-scale deaths. Toddy or neera is the milky health drink of certain palm trees, provided it is consumed in the morning. It becomes fermented as the day grows longer and turns into an intoxicant. Toddy becomes dangerous when it is laced with chemicals by unscrupulous elements to make quick profit and can cause a heavy death toll.   More: Drugs Case: Film Photographer Among Those Arrested

While gudumba is sold underground largely in urban areas, laced toddy is more easily available in the rural regions.

The interactive awareness campaign broadcast over Hyderabad A station of AIR on Friday from 9:30 am educated listeners about the ill effects of drugs, gudumba and laced toddy. Involving top officials of excise and drugs control, the discussion underlined that drug abuse was largely owing to peer pressure and falling of children and youth into bad company. With nuclear families becoming a large segment of society, and both parents working to support a good lifestyle, their children were left on their own. Money was also being doled out to them in lieu of lack of personal attention.

Availability of smart phones and social media has made circulation of information about drugs easier. What starts with experimentation leads to abuse and dependency at later states. Irritability among youth and their avoidance of brightly lit areas was something parents must watch out for.

On adulteration of toddy, the panel members advised people to inform the nearest police station or excise office. Toddy saplings were being distributed in large scale through toddy tappers’ societies. These could be planted around farm bunds and other areas. Once their numbers increase, the menace of illicit toddy could decrease, they felt.

According to a National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) compilation in 2013, 15 people die in India every day, an overwhelming majority of them owing to consumption of illicit liquor. Collection of State-wise data on deaths due to alcohol has been stopped since 2014. Such deaths are since being included in overall sudden deaths, according to a May, 2016, IANS report.   More: Hyderabad Drugs Case: Notices Issued to Colleges, Schools And Cine Celebrities

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