35-year-old Ram Pravesh (name changed), living in Samastipur Town, Bihar, was addicted to alcohol. In the year 2016, when the Bihar government implemented the prohibition of alcohol, they found it difficult to deal with their addiction.
Under the stress of addiction, Ram Pravesh started looking for alternatives to alcohol. Someone had said that painkillers (pen killers) also give the same dose as alcohol. In order to try this recipe, Ram Pravesh started taking sesmoproxvon tablets. In the initial round, he used to eat 2-3 bullets. Gradually, the effect of the pulse was reduced and the dose of pills increased. There also came a time when Ram Pravesh started eating 20-20 pills daily.
Ram Pravesh says, “300 to 400 rupees a day would have been spent on alcohol, but a pen killer was cheaper. 20 tablets were available for 100 to 125 rupees and drug was the same as alcohol. Gradually, I got addicted to the tablets. Got it. ”
22-year-old Amit, who lives in Bhootnath Road, Patna, was fond of drinking beer. He used to drink a beer every day. Even if prohibition was imposed, beer was secretly sold. However, the price had gone up. A beer of 75 rupees was available from Black for 300 rupees.
Amit was not able to spend so much money daily, so he started trying Ganja instead of beer. Soon after the initial hesitation, he started enjoying the puff of ganja. It started with a chillum which now reaches 5-6 in a day. Now he remains unconscious throughout the day in a circle of similar baldaris.
In a jolt, one of the major disadvantages caused by the ban on liquor in Bihar two years ago without any specific plan or preparation, is the inclination towards alternative measures of intoxication. Cases like Ram Pravesh and Amit are countless in Bihar and are growing rapidly.
Due to the prohibition of alcohol, people living in urban areas, especially youth groups like Ganja, Charas, cannabis, heroin, whitener, pen killer, cough syrup etc. are making alcohol substitutes.
Due to intoxication of hemp, Amit remains normal and even if he does not get hemp even one day, he starts feeling restless. Amit says, “If someday the hemp does not drink, then there is a strange rapture in the mind. Weakness is felt in the body.”
When Amit’s parents started feeling that he was getting sick now, he was admitted to the de-addiction center.
The Bihar government does not have any official data on the number of addicts and patients who are consuming other drugs as an alternative to alcohol. The government did not formulate a strategy to deal with this kind of problem after the ban. However, some figures have been found from de-addiction centers, which present a very worrying picture of Bihar.
After the prohibition, the number of patients addicted to other drugs in addition to alcohol has increased in de-addiction centers.
Rakhi Sharma, an under-secretary of the Patna-based Disha Nasha Vimukti-cum-Rehabilitation Center, says, “More than 70% of our patients are addicted to other drugs. This means that drug addicts are looking at marijuana, opium, heroin and other substances as an alternative to alcohol. Most of these patients are aged between 18 and 35 years. ”
A total of 4,752 drug addicts were treated at the Disha Drug Addiction-cum-Rehabilitation Center from April 2017 to March 2018, with 3,438 patients consuming other drugs (excluding alcohol). Of these, 115 patients had heroin addiction. The number of patients of Ganja, Charas and cannabis was 2,151 and the number of patients taking whitener was 137.
In the past years, the seizure data of drugs like cannabis, opium also shows that there has been a tremendous increase in their consumption in the state.
According to the data received in response to a question asked in the Lok Sabha, 28,888 kg of cannabis was seized in Bihar in 2017, which is two thousand times more than the seizure before the prohibition. In 2015, 14.4 kg of cannabis was seized from Bihar. According to the Narcotic Control Bureau, in 2016, 10,800 kg of cannabis was seized.
Similarly, in the year 2015, the police seized 167 kg of opium from Bihar. Last year, 329 kg of opium was seized.
There are mainly three reasons for leaning towards other narcotics instead of alcohol. First, the purchase of liquor from Black is very heavy on the pocket. The second reason is that hemp, opium are easily available in comparison to alcohol.
The third reason is the strictness of the prohibition law against these drugs. Arvind Mahuar, a lawyer for the Civil Court of Patna, says, “The provisions of the prohibition law in Bihar are stricter than the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985.”
Arvind Muhar said that after the prohibition, cases related to the ADPS Act have increased in the court.
One important aspect has been overlooked in the case of prohibition, which is linked to psychology. If a person who is addicted to alcohol suddenly gives up alcohol or does not get alcohol, then ‘Vidrol Simptam’ starts appearing in him, which is very dangerous. To avoid this, an alcoholic looks for every option that can keep him in a state of intoxication. In such a situation, intoxicating things like hemp, opium, cannabis, pen killer are useful for him.
Ram Pravesh, who took a pen killer, said, “If not intoxicated, there would be an attack of epilepsy, which sometimes caused a wound in the tongue. Health was also bad.”
Well-known psychiatrist Dr. Sujit Sarkhel says, “Withdrawal Symptom can prove to be fatal at times.”
Aab is a part of their life and if they leave it, then their life will be over, so they do not find alcohol, they look for another option. ”
According to Sarkhel, before the ban on liquor, awareness campaign should have been conducted on a wide scale about its psychological aspects as well as other aspects. With this, those who consume alcohol also get to know what kind of symptoms are seen by not drinking alcohol.
“By this, alcoholic patients would go to the doctors instead of looking for another alternative to addiction,” he said.
Om Prakash Mandal, deputy commissioner of the Department of Alcohol Prohibition, Products and Registration, said that he did not have any data which indicated that the number of users of cannabis, cannabis or other narcotics had increased. He also said that there is a separate law for such cases under which continuous action is being taken.
Last month, two years of prohibition were completed. Whenever CM Nitish Kumar gets a chance, he does not count the benefits of prohibition. But, after the ban on alcohol, the government has no attention on the increase in the influx of drugs.
If the situation remains the same, then it is not far when the intoxicated Bihar will come out of hand and become ‘Udta Bihar’.