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28 Jun 2022, Edition - 2541, Tuesday

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Beware there are narcotics at vicinity!

Uma Ram


Ramya visited her gynaecologist after relapses of cold and runny nose and was prescribed an antihistamine and a cough syrup. The ailments abated the very next morning. She felt simmered down and it was so palliating that she waited for bedtime to gulp the day’s dosage. She enjoyed her tranquilised sleeps after long. Though waking up next morning was difficult with the induced sleep patterns, she did not want to quit the course. After her children and spouse left home she fell asleep as she was already feeling drowsy. When she woke up it was 1.30 pm. Hurriedly, she cooked tiffin for the kids returning from school and her lunch was at 3 pm.

This became her routine for the next few days till the medicines got over which altered her sleep patterns. She revisited the physician complaining falsely of the same ailments and got the prescription, as the chemist insisted. She became a regular customer at her neighbour’s medical store. When her neighbour enquired about her health she said she was catching cold often due to dust allergy.

The next time she altered the date on the prescription to get the drugs. The druggist half heartedly gave the medicines and asked her husband about her health. To his surprise, the husband was totally unaware of it. When he probed, his wife replied vaguely. It was then that the children came up with complaints of their mother’s behaviour of late. She had missed two PTA meetings, had not collected their report cards and at times sent the previous day’s leftover food from the fridge.

Her husband Vishal was shocked as he knew her to be a very good mother. It was then that he recollected the chemist’s enquiry of her health and purchase of medicines regularly. That night Vishal pretended to sleep to keep vigil of his wife. He was shocked to see her gulp three pills and silently go to bed.

He could not sleep​ and next morning he sent the kids to school and took off from office. She felt uncomfortable in his presence as she could not take her daytime doze, her recently developed habit.He took her to a psychiatrist their neighbour suggested.

Her loneliness, feeling of being abandoned and the monotonous life style had traumatised her leading to this drug addiction. She was given several counselling sessions to rehabilitate and the doctor advised Vishal to be more concerned about his family too. Vishal was ashamed of himself to have stayed aloof and being ignorant of his wife’s addiction over the last seven months.

Raj, a teenager was the class topper. But of late there was a downslide on the academic front and he had turned truant. The divorce decision of his parents had created turbulence at home, leaving the child’s mind turbid, leading to chronic depression and insomnia. It was then that one day when his classmate fell asleep in class after he had taken cough syrup that Raj came to know about the drug’s sedative effect.

One day his parents who met the principal when called upon from school, had the shock of their lives when the class teacher said that their son had become a sort of alcoholic. He had been sleeping all day in his bench since past few days. His test papers were blank. He had not completed his homework and projects since long and he had even failed in a couple of subjects. The parents were perplexed as the Raj they knew was the topper and all rounder of his class.

When Raj entered the Principal’s room, his parents had a close look at his face after long. He had developed dark circles around his eyes, his uniform was shabby, his hair clumsy, lost much weight and looked anorexic. His mother burst out into tears. It was then that Raj’s father felt ashamed of himself, for being selfish forgetting his son’s plight. . The principal suggested therapeutic counselling for Raj’s addiction to cough syrup and advised his parents to be responsible at least thence.

A few antihistamines and cough syrups due to their sedative properties are the easily available alcohol-cum-drug substitutes for those depressed and mentally disturbed. Their easy accessibility becomes the cheapest alcoholic drug in the vicinity. “Keep out of reach of children”, reads the warnings on these drug labels. But when adults too become addicted to it, the plight of innocent children can never be explained. There are a couple of stay-at-home moms who get fever pitch on Saturday nights, not for partying but only to gulp sleeping pills, anti-antihistamines, cough syrups and painkillers to get `peaceful’ sleep. They say that a single night’s tranquil sleep can provide them energy to get the ducks in row for the next week.

Being a homemaker myself, I have many Ramyas in my close quarters in real life. As stress and strain in relationships are not uncommon in this Internet era, it does not mean that it is the way of the world. Both happiness and testings are part of life, just passing clouds. No one is perfect. It is up to us to accept imperfections in challenging situations too. Learn to value yourself above all and last but not least, remember, a husband and wife can separate, but not parents. However busy you are, try to keep vigil of happenings at home, in the family. After all, fast tracking money is only for the family tree to flourish. Keep vigil of its growth to be a healthy one. Happy living.

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