The Journey

It was only after two pricks that Raghu felt a bit relieved. With the third prick Raghu sensed a sudden adrenalin rush and then he pressed the accelerator.

The train of his thoughts went from the time he was a child and his father would take them out for a quarterly picnic in his office ambassador car and how he used to tease his elder sister Radhika sitting on the driver seat while she was sitting on the back seat with Mom.

He flew back in time to the summer vacations when they went to his grandparents in Thoothukudi (Tuticorin). He would reminisce how he and his sister had loved the train journey every time they traveled from their base stations to Thoothukudi. Dad’s army posting made them travel across the country from Jammu to Chandigarh to Guwahati to Secunderabad to Jhansi to Ladakh to Ambala to Kota and so on. Dad’s fellow sepoys would tuck in the luggage properly and then carry Raghu on their shoulders and give him a round of the station buying him either candies or ice-creams or wafers before the train signaled for departure.

He remembered the first time he took a flight when he was to appear for an interview in Bangalore for the Engineering College seat that he so craved for. He cleared it and Dad sold off his piece of land in his hometown to support his studies. Raghu’s  sole dream in life was to complete the engineering course and return back as a Software Engineer before he appeared for the CDS examinations (Combined Defence Services Examination) as per Dad’s wish. Never did he think about this future for himself and his family within two years of joining the college.

It pained to remember that he alone was responsible for his Dad’s heart stroke just about a year ago. He kept accusing and abusing himself all through the previous night for having his Dad sell the one room apartment and mom’s only piece of jewellery so he could enter this prestigious college. Guilt-ridden thoughts of lying to his parents on several occasions flashed through his mind.

But today as he made the payment to Guru and received the packet, he forgot all that pain. Everything seemed to be fading. As soon as the needle pricked his skin for the first time, he felt relieved. Much much relieved. As the drug entered his veins, he felt pain being released from each part of his body. Every single cell in his body that was screaming for freedom – finally got liberated.


Tears dropped down through his eyes even while his face was smiling. Though a bit relieved, he couldn’t forgive himself for having snatched newly married Radhika’s mangalsutra only to buy this packet which contained the injection.

Ecstatic yet guilt ridden, he pressed the accelerator of his bike once again as he moved up the hills of Idukki in search of a new high. The gush of cool winds through his hair elevated the sense of freedom. A sudden bump in the middle of the road. The bike slipped. He went up along with the bike and then flew down only to remain invisible in the depth of those valleys forever.


26th June is International Day against Drug Abuse.

The prevalence of drug abuse among children and adolescents is higher than that of general public. The youth are more affected and easily drawn into this because they are in a hurry to form an identity for themselves and are always ready for experimentation. A report by Child Line says 63.6% of patients coming in for treatment were introduced to drugs at a young age below 15 years. Heroin, Opium, Alcohol, Cannabis and Propoxyphene are the five most common drugs being abused by children in India.

The problem in India is there are no sensitization programmes about drug abuse in schools or for children out of school. India does not have a substance abuse policy. Children who at times done have access to high quality drugs will use volatile substances easily found in corner stores such as cough syrups, pain relief ointments, glue, paint, gasoline and cleaning fluids. There are very few to no health centers that deal with child substance abuse problems, especially in the rural areas. The use of tobacco is another major concern amongst children. In India 20 million children a year and nearly 55,000 children a day are drawn into a tobacco addition. The number is shocking when compared to the 3000 a day new child smokers in the US.

The use of certain drugs such as whitener, alcohol, tobacco, hard and soft drugs is especially wide spread among street children, working children and trafficked children but there is currently a lack of reliable data on drug abuse amongst children.

Information courtesy – Child Line India

Substance use has been a topic of interest to any professionals in the health sector, primarily mental health. So many families have lost their children, their earning hands to this social menace. Drug Abuse kills not just the addict but an entire family.

Honestly I don’t blame the children for this. It is lack of information and proper guidance that makes them get drawn into this. Adverse atmosphere at home too leads to many such victims. Unfavourable circumstances where a child does not get to communicate with a knowledgeable and trust-worthy adult too leads to drug abuse. Many a times, a child gets into this to rescue themselves from a mishap that has affected his/her personality or mental development.

Children affected by substance abuse are considered as children in need of care and protection under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000.

ChildLine is doing a marvelous job in helping rehabilitate these children.

Substance abuse among children has become an issue of concern throughout the world. Increasing substance abuse and its impact on physical and psychosocial health is a worldwide public health concern affecting the early youth and subsequently the whole life of the individuals. Particularly disturbing fact is that the age of initiation of abuse is progressively falling. To plan effective interventions, it is essential to have information on the extent and type of substance abuse among school children and their attitude towards its control

Prevalence of substance use among school children in Northern India is high and causes significant physical and psychosocial problems in this population. A large proportion of those using drugs reported serious adverse effects, raising the necessity of targeted interventions to reduce the risk of subsequent substance dependence and other deleterious consequences.

~ International Journal of Medical Science and Public Health

By resolution 42/112 of 7 December 1987, the General Assembly decided to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse. This resolution recommended further action with regard to the report and conclusions of the 1987 International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

2014 Theme:

Drug use disorders are preventable and treatable

Drug Abuse is Life Abuse.

Say NO to Drugs, YES to Life.

Make Health your “New High” in life. Not Drugs.


Related Articles:

International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking  – United Nations

Children affected by Substance Abuse – Child Line

Sharp rise in ChildLine drink and drug abuse calls – BBC UK 

Prescription drug abuse growing in India: UN report 



This post is part of the WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts program where the aim is to post at least once a day based on the prompts that they have provided. Today’s prompt is, “Planes, trains, and automobiles: You’re going on a cross-country trip. Airplane, train, bus, or car? (Or something else entirely — bike? Hot air balloon?)”

The author Rekha Dhyani is one of the contributors to the We Post Daily and blogs regularly at Dew Drops. She also shares her lucky clicks at The Crystal Trance


11 Replies to “The Journey”

  1. it’s a sad story but a true story for so many youngsters. once addicted, the desperation to have more of it seems like an additional addiction too. be it drugs or anything else. I don’t think you were looking for a surprise ending with the story, I could expect that grim ending though I hoped he’d realize his folly and leave the habit.

    I also like that you’ve given these facts for your readers to think over. Nice!

  2. you know , how bad i felt this time when i came to india to visit punjab.. It is such a sad place now .. The youth is wasting its life on drugs and whats worse is that the Government is involved in itself and harbouring the dealers ..

    sad story ..

    you know I have grown up and I was a kid too, but never ever I and guys in that time had this inkling to use drugs, they were avaialble.. yeah we had alcohol and some smoked but drugs were always a no no no.. Sadly its not this anymore .. I saw drugs being taken openly in my old college .. Where when i was studying this could have never happened .. because students themselves would have kicked the dealer out .. but now its open …

    I do hope today on the International day against drug abuse we can save our youth who are the future of the nation ..

  3. Those are scary statistics. It’s such a sad tale and one which is all too often a reality for many! Thanks for writing such an important post, Rekha!

  4. You know just like Bikram says, when I recently went to Punjab, I was shocked to hear horror tales of a state in the clutches of drug abuse. The administration does nothing while the youth get sucked in. Did you know that marijuana grows openly all over the state. You are right that there is no real education of children about drug abuse. I regularly talk to my son about this issue. Thank you for writing this post. Very informative and a very different take on the prompt!

  5. A thoroughly researched post, Rekha! Horrifying statistics really. But what I appreciate most about this post is that you have given a human face to all that statistics with a touching story. Makes this very critical issue so tangible and real. Thank you.

  6. What a timely post Rekha…it is a horrible news that that school going boys of the state are one of the greatest consumer groups of the drugs…. And starting with the story, I didn’t think it was about a social issue,….hope U really had worked for it….lets pray that the awareness campaigns, against this, be succ
    ~Mridubala (from my new blog)

  7. Sad but compelling story to highlight the plight of drug addicts, Rekha. It’s a tragedy that we lack political will to tackle drug problem destroying our youth which is the future of the country.

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