Alcoholics and drug addicts take to drinking or use of drugs for a variety of reasons. The factors mainly responsible for the spread of this evil are:
1. Rapid industrialisation and urbanisation have ushered a new way of life with new values like permissiveness. As a result, the age-old inhibitions, taboos and traditional social control mechanisms have ceased to have force. Many cases of drug or alcohol addicts arise after apparent failure in business or professional life. Unemployment is also an important factor contributing to drug and alcohol addiction especially among youths.
2. The lack of parental care and control partly due to working situation of both spouses and disintegration of joint family system are also contributory factors to encourage this vice. The manace of drug abuse is more common among the middle, upper-middle, and high economic class families. Urban areas seem to be more affected by this vice.
3. The recent developments in pharmaceutical and medical sciences have provided scope for production of a variety of toxic synthetic substances. This has contributed substantially to drug-abuse and addiction.
4. People often take drugs for relief from painful illness and ultimately get addicted to it. Besides, there are some addicts whose neurological heritage is such that they find it difficult to survive without the use of alcohol or narcotic drugs and this ultimately makes them habitual alcoholics or drug addicts.
5. Frustration and emotional stress due to failures, sorrows or miseries of life, diverts people to join the company of addicts. For them drugs or alcohol is a medicine—a blessing in disguise. In course of time they become addicted to this vice.
6. Hippie-culture also detracts youngsters to drug addiction and they start it as a ‘fun’ or enjoyment. They start consuming drugs or alcohol on an experimental basis out of fun and enjoyment. The frequency of consumption gradually increases due to its narcotic effect and finally a good majority of them turn out to be drug addicts and habituals.
7. The lack of knowledge of child psychology and communication-gap between parents and young addicts are also contributory factors for drug-abuse and alcoholism. People who do manual work often believe that use of drugs such as alcohol, opium, ganja, tobacco, gutka etc. provides them added strength and vigour to withstand hard labour. This delusion of physical vitality by use of alcohol or narcotic drugs ultimately makes them confirmed addicts.
8. Social disorganisation is also a contributing factor for the menace of drug abuse or misuse. Frequent family strifes and breakdowns due to poverty, temperamental differences, neighbourhood influences etc. may divert a person to alcohol or drug consumption to overcome his domestic and family problems. This may itself be a cause of tension and quarrel in the family. Such persons ultimately fall a prey to drug abuse.
The process of alcoholism and drug-addiction sets in when a person knowingly or unknowingly begins to consume alcohol or narcotic drug as a medicine for a sound sleep at night or to get stimulation for work or to get relief from domestic problems or to repress depression, resentment, or to get rid of disturbing mental restlessness and so on.
He prefers to remain in the world of imagination rather than facing realities of life. Gradually, he becomes addicted to alcohol or drug consumption and his dependence on these intoxicants increases at a relatively faster rate. Finally, he reaches a stage when he cannot live without wine or drug since it becomes his life-habit.
It must be stated that the use of opium and cannabis in the form of ganja and bhang was tolerated in India and had a religious sanction but addiction to them was confined to aged persons only. In modern times addiction has affected the Indian society to such an extent that even journalists, politicians, educationists etc. have started talking about this problem, particularly in college campuses. The spectrum of drugs abuse today is very wide covering the drugs of plant origin and a number of synthetic drugs of varying potency.
The National Committee on Drug Addiction was set up by the Government of India in 1976 to enquire into—
(i) The extent of addiction to drugs in the country;
(ii) To determine motivation for drug addiction;
(iii) To identify types of drugs that are misused and suggest steps to prevent misuse;
(iv) To recommend suitable de-addiction and rehabilitation programmes.
The Committee in its Report suggested establishment of a National Advisory Board on Drug Control. It outlined the need for cooperation of Police, Excise and Drug Control Departments to curb this menace and necessity for creating awareness against drug addiction in the public. A Narcotics Central Board was established in 1985 under the Act.