November 2, 2015
Kumari, a post-graduate student had a rendezvous with Kalaiselvan. The time was around 4 p.m. and the location was close to a railway track under the bridge near Sungam. No it was not a romantic getaway. It was purely business. And, an illegal one at that.
Kumari was meeting Kalaiselvan, a drug peddler, to buy ganja (cannabis). The transaction was for Rs. 130. The meeting was complete after Kalaiselvan agreed to deliver a larger quantity of ganja as per Kumari’s wish at a later date. As soon as Kumari finished with Kalaiselvan, there was a group of some more college students waiting for their turn to buy some ganja.
If you thought that this was a unique case, you are mistaken. This is one among many such transactions that happen between drug peddlers and college students. Many transactions take place at different locations. Drugs are easily available to students just like any other commodity.
Murugesh started using drugs when he was in standard XII. He, along with his friends, used to keep ganja in his pant folding. During his first year in college, he had a problem with his friends. He was found in the possession of ganja. A case was filed on him for illegal practices. He could never come out of his addiction, and eventually succumbed to its effects at an early age of 22.
Ismail (23), working in a company, says that one of his friends compelled him to use ganja. He was driven to the point of addiction and for the past six months he has become fully dependent on the drug.
He uses it daily. After consuming it, his eyes become reddish and he gets a head ache. He also uses an injection. Moreover, he spends Rs 300 a day on ganja. His monthly salary is Rs 9000. He is trying to stop the habit due to familial pressure. But the side effects of weaning away are more than when he has the ganja.
Everything connected with ganja is readily available for the first-time user as well as the regular. There are various ways to use ganja. The most popular one is the use of OCB (Odet-Cascadec Bollore) paper used for smoking. The sale of OCB paper is very brisk at the shops near SITRA. The owner of a shop says: “I sell nearly 100 OCB packets a day. A single packet costs Rs. 60 and is mostly bought by college students. They need not go far for drugs, they are easily available in the college campus itself.”
Most drug peddlers use college students to do business for them inside college campuses. The student peddlers are adequately compensated for their work. The ideal candidates are normally hostel students, who are able to conduct business since they do not have their parents to monitor their activities.
According to Dr. D. Srinivasan, Director of Kasturba Gandhi De-addiction Centre, “People between the ages of 12 and 65 come for treatment. The treatment is usually 80 per cent beneficial. However, there is no long-term treatment for this problem. After getting cured, there is always a chance of relapse”.
Easy access and lack of control by peers, teachers and parents, make students fall easy prey to drugs. By the time the family or friends come to know of it, it is usually very late and the person would have become a full-blown addict. After that, there is no need to explain what an uphill task it would be for the loved ones to bring the affected person back on the right track and also ensure that he stays on that.