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Understanding Substance Abuse and its Correlation with Social Changes in Sikkim: A Sociological Study

Peter Rai

In contemporary society, the full-fledged impact of modernisation and globalisation which has given the free movement of people, goods and money across the countries of the world can be witnessed. This has also opened the economic opportunities among the individuals and communities in the society, which has become a new way of life. Society has changed over the years and activities of the people have also undergone social change. Even the trend of taking drugs has changed with change in society. Traditionally used drugs have been replaced by modern synthetic drugs. The proliferation of pharmaceutical industries, which manufactures narcotic drugs, has, directly and indirectly, encouraged the use and abuse of drugs due to easy access in the market. The epidemic of illicit drug users in the global society has increased significantly and simultaneously related crimes in society. 

Drug abuse is global phenomena. A drug is a biological substance, synthetic or natural, which is taken primarily for non-dietary needs, and it is a substance, which affects the functioning of the mind and body or both. Globally, according to UNODC estimate, in 2009, between 149 and 272 million people, or 3.3% to 6.1% of the population aged 15-64, had used illicit substance once in the previous year. Cannabis and ATS (Amphetamine-type stimulants) are two important drugs which are commonly used worldwide. Within Asia, ATS ranks as the main drug of abuse in Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea and the Philippines, and also China, Myanmar and Indonesia are in the second rank (UNODC, 2004). Heroin, cocaine and other drugs kill around 0.2 million people each year and also causes health problems with incurable diseases. The European Monitoring Centre for Drug and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) defines the problem of drug use as, “injecting drug use or long duration regular use of opium, cocaine and amphetamines”. World Health Organisation (WHO), defines drug addiction as a ‘disease,’ and the American Psychiatric Association, define drug abuse as the ‘illicit consumption of any naturally occurring of pharmaceutical substance for the purpose of changing the way, in which a person feels, thinks or behaves, without understanding or taking into consideration the damaging physical and mental side-effects that are caused.'

Drug Abuse, Sikkim, Sociology
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