Listen First! Observing International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

26th June is no ordinary day. For those of you who don’t know it’s the international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking. The topic of drug abuse often comes up in social gatherings, seminars, workshops, educational settings and events. It’s sad the the fact that someone is using drugs has become very normal and common now. We’re often heard this line

Ye sub tou chalta hai, kuch aur bolo.

What’s even more saddening than drug addiction is that we as a society collectively treat it as something to be expected of the members of society. Each one of us knows at least one drug addict and we have nothing to say to that except the fact that it’s just how it is now. It doesn’t matter what drug is, almost everyone in the younger generation is tempted to try these drugs out and it often leads to a dangerous addiction to them.

Drug Abuse is a disease, and it needs to be treated as a disease. One of the reasons why it is prevailing with no control in the developing countries is because it is simply regarded as a leisure activity or a coping mechanism. However, sometimes it is neither. It should be termed as a toxic affair, because you think you’re with someone who loves you just as much as you love them but in reality your partner is out there cheating on you.

The UN chooses a theme to represent and promote this awareness day every year and since 2016 onward, including this year, the theme chosen is ‘Listen First’. The reasoning behind this chosen theme was to listen to the younger generation so that they see no need to turn to drugs when things get stressful or depressing. It ensures they get an environment where they are listened to and respected.

In the world of today we live in, everyone wants to speak what’s on their mind and no one wants to listen. That’s not a proper conversation. Someone’s bound to be overheard or not listened to at all. The group of people that is often overlooked is teenagers. When they aren’t listened to, they feel lonely and depressed. Where do we expect them to go if not drugs. It’s the easy to forget all your worries after all. Another reason might be peer pressure, where they want to fit in a group so they start doing drugs even though they don’t really want to.

But are the adults of today to be blamed? Sometimes, the younger generation themselves don’t wish to follow orders. They don’t want to listen to their elders and see them as something obsolete.

My grandmother often says, ‘Aj kal chotay baray, aur baray chotay ho gaey hain.’ And I feel like that sentence accurately describes the perspective of both the young and the old in this time. Adults don’t want to listen to the young, they assert the idea that they know best and no one can tell them otherwise, while the young are frustrated from being told what to do and wish to rebel and ignore any guidance directed at them entirely. But this passive aggressive counter attack isn’t going to take anyone anywhere.So we see there’s a sharp generational and communication gap. We as a society need to fix that.

The need of the time calls for strict action using psychological ways. Psy. Sobia Khateeb Foundation is one of the many organizations working in Pakistan for the promotion and betterment of psychological health. With coordination with professionals from these organizations, the problems of the society can be discovered. The major problem psychologists face is the possibility of people becoming addicted to drugs again, which is called relapse. The only way to prevent that from happening if all the people around an ex-drug addict support them and ensure they don’t go to drugs ever again. Negatively mocking them and judging them for their past behavior will lead to them being addicted again. We need to learn how to be more understanding and forgiving. We need to give these people another chance.

If you can, try helping someone who’s in mental pain. Help them according to their needs, not according to what’s convenient for you. That’s the secret to making things better. Think of how they want it, not how you want it and you’ll see everything fall into place and take a better shape. Promote better psychological health, and promote better bodily health. Promote better life circumstances for everyone, and promote a drug addicted free society.

Choose to Refuse. Say No To Drugs. Listen First.


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