November 22, 2017

Important Milestones in the War Against Drugs

It is difficult to understand whether we are making progress in the war against drugs or not. Sometimes, looking at the figures, one gets discouraged: as drug usage levels seem to be going up, with new ‘designer’ drugs being introduced into the market every other day. Clearly, this is not a war where progress can be gauged on the basis of statistics. We need qualitative, rather than quantitative markers for progress. And this is what makes it important for us to identify important milestones in the war against drugs. If we are able to attain these milestones, we will know that we are making progress, regardless of anything else.

If, for instance, we are able to get political goodwill, with commitment from the highest levels of government in favor of the war against drugs, that would be an important milestone. Currently, we have many government authorities that only pay lip service to the issue of drugs. Real commitment seems to be lacking. But there is hope. Recently, I went online to check my Subway gift card balance and, after doing so, as I was browsing through news websites, I came across a report to the effect that one of the major anti-drugs agencies was being strengthened. Those are the sorts of tangible steps we need, on a day to day basis for the war to be won.

If we are able to get the ‘society at large’ to acknowledge the damage caused by drugs, that would be an important milestone. As it is, we still have some sections of the society that are of the opinion that ‘drugs are cool’, and so on. They are unable to fully acknowledge the damage caused by drugs.

If we are able to get the international community to acknowledge the drugs problem as a global scourge, that too would be an important milestone. The current status is that the drugs problem is viewed as a ‘minor problem’, certainly not a global scourge. This means that very meager resources are devoted to this particular problem because, after all, we have not yet gotten to a point where its full impact can be appreciated globally.