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Why Punjab is into Addiction?

02.01.2018 - Dr. J.P.S. Bhatia

It's always painful when people ask me "Why Punjab is into addiction" says Dr. J.P.S. Bhatia, as he talks about the stereotypical image of an "Addictive Punjab". A historical review of Punjab is required in order to understand the dynamics of addiction in Punjab. Addiction like any other problem does not occur in isolation, it is a bi product of the bio, psycho, social conditions and geographical setting of an individual or a place.

Since the ancient times, Punjab has continuously witnessed the terrifying pain of battles, wars and invasions. Punjab was a significant site for the Indian independence movement and given to its topographical setting Punjab is easily affected by border activities. These events provided conducive environment for severe crimes, social conflicts and an unstable environment, together these things lead to a state of chronic mental discomfort and emotional pain, the baggage of which is carried across the generations. To overpower their vulnerability and insecurity the population in Punjab began to save itself by fighting back against odd events. They felt a strong need for stable environment and started portraying an image of aggressive warriors, so that the opposition thinks before they attack their territory. This pain of instability, uneasiness, and conflicts, the burden of always being on alerts and always being on a defensive mode has over time taken a toll on millions of life. One of the most popular theories of addiction, theory of self medication states that the initial purpose of taking drugs is to feel relieved from discomforting experiences. Drugs are used as self prescribed medicines to heal pain, people never start the drugs to become addicts, however owing to the chemical composition and addictive nature of these substances people develop a dependence for them and land up in addiction, which they realize very late. Thus addiction in Punjab has strong psychogenic roots. Sadly, most people cannot see the roots and talk of addiction only, Punjab was not born with addiction rather addiction was born in the ailing minds of Punjab. The need of the hour however is to look beyond addiction in Punjab.

It's been observed that addiction is a global epidemic and has a devastating impact on all the people across cultures and the status of Punjab is no different in my opinion, he says.

The question Why Punjab is into addiction is very primitive, it attracts undue negative attention and does not assist us in reaching any meaningful answers. It is important for us to define the utility, potential and focus of a question and also, to assume our duties to answer those questions. Questions like addiction, if unanswered, become issues and later translate into an overwhelming social burden. I think we as responsible citizens and care providers need to chose our questions with caution and a deep sense of liability. In present times we need to attend to questions like, why addiction, what's the best way to manage addiction and how to overpower addiction world wide. which are most relevant and may result in some constructive contributions.