ROHTAK: Standing at 6 feet with broad shoulders and expanded chest, 30-year-old Rajesh Kumar (name changed) has been admitted at State Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (SDDTC) here. His condition is a revelation on how youths have been affected by drugs in Jatland.
Narrating his account of becoming a drug addict, Kumar said three years ago, his friends who had got cash rich in a land acquisition deal and had offered him heroin. "I used to consume liquor, but heroin gave me a different kick and I got habituated to it and spent all my money and jewellery, costing lakhs, like a mad man," said Kumar, who is under treatment at this centre for last many months.
He said realisation dawned on him after his parents intervened and got him admitted to the drug treatment centre. On wasting three years on addiction, Kumar said when agricultural land of villages close to Rohtak city was acquired, flaunting pistols became a craze among the youth.
"Gone are those days, now they keep a spoon, lighter and injection with needle tucked in their waist to get intoxicated with heroin, which costs anything between Rs 2,000-2,500 per gram in Rohtak," he said and added that the spoon is used to heat the drug mixed with distilled water and then it is injected in the body. "A time comes when your nerves in arms start to fail you because they remain swollen, then we inject shots in legs or behind the neck to satisfy desperation for a drug hit," he added.
Ram Mehar, a resident of Baliyana village told TOI that village panchayat was aware of drug addiction vitiating the environment and many addicts have even sold their land to keep the flow of drugs going on after spending all of their cash and valuables.
He said their village was not the lone spot but neighbouring villages too faced the same problem as families got cash-rich with new money from property dealing or land acquisition.
According to data provided by SDDTC Rohtak, 555 patients, including 123 opioid addicts, visited the centre in 2008. In 2012, 1,503 patients, including 409 opioid users, visited the centre. The numbers kept increasing and in 2015, of the total 3,390 patients, 771 were opioid users.
The number of opioid users crossed 1,000 mark and it grew to 1,261 in 2017 of the total 4,318 patients. In 2018, a total of 5,824 patients visited the centre and 1,712 patients were opioid users -- an all-time high. In just the first six months of 2019, 1,468 opioid users have visited the centre out of the total 3,641 patients.
Dr Sunila, a consultant with SDDTC Rohtak, told TOI that there has been big jump in number of opioid patients and it is increasing at alarming rate. She said patients of opioid abuse, mostly from semi-urban areas of Rohtak and nearby districts are shifting from alcohol to hard substances. She said some of the drug users come with clogged veins due to overuse of injectable drugs.