Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Abuse in Kerala – Problem Process and Intervention

via Dr Babu Suseelan published on June 26, 2011

For hundreds of years, we have known that Kerala, the land’s end of India which has produced the greatest Philosopher ever known Sankaracharya made sense as a great state.

After years of alien invasion, coercive religious conversion, Marxist rule, and bogus secular preaching, the nature of things in general in Kerala is not conducive for a happy, peaceful and tranquil family life. Lives in Kerala is a matter of life and death-and if that seems to say too much, then consider inflation, changing life style, crime, corruption, alcohol and drug abuse, divorce, murder, and burglary, car theft, and violence. Can Kerala survive, except perhaps under severe sort of anarchy and tyranny of the Marxists and fundamentalists where Alcoholism, drug abuse, sex predatory behavior, crime, murder, hand chopping, home invasion, and corruption can continue unabated.

Why Alcohol and Drug Abuse?

I have interviewed several Alcohol and drug abusers and people who are standing in Q for buying liquor from Beverages corporations in Kerala. There is no single kind of alcohol and drug abuser. Most of the abusers of alcohol may find it pleasurable, will have trouble stopping, and may use it on a regular basis. They develop psychological and physiological dependence and develop a relentless and unmanageable craving for Alcohol such that their life becomes organized around it, searching for it, using it, enjoying it, and searching for more. Professionals and authorities differ on the number of Alcoholics and drug addicts in Kerala. At any rate, they have been increasing in number. The revenue from alcohol sales from the beverages corporation has increased substantially from 550 corers to 780 corers in 2010-2011. The number of deaths due to alcohol and drug abuse is on the increase in Kerala. Experts say that alcohol abuse has increased tenfold within the last three years. Recent life style changes and foreign liquor sales indicate that increase will continue.

The newspapers and TV news programs give considerable attention to sensational aspects of drinking and driving, suicide, homicide, home invasion, divorce, family breakdown and crime related to alcohol and drugs. There is general agreement among spiritual leaders, professional experts and community leaders that alcoholism and drug abuse is a serious social problem. But on such issues the pseudo secular government considers it not as a serious social problem. Why?

We know alcoholism is undesirable and a serious social problem. But for the bogus secular government it is good source of income for the government. Death and destruction of our families is a serious problem, but the problem can go completely unnoticed by authorities. Government officials justify increased sales and consumption of alcohol and want to maximize freedom of the individuals in society to do what they want.

No one has proposed a fully satisfactory theory to explain the apparent increase in alcohol abuse and drug addiction in Kerala. There are at least several possibilities, some of which may be correct.

Contemporary life in Kerala is messy, unpredictable, and stressful and people are facing an uncertain future. For a variety of reasons, there are limits to the certainty of continuous cultural life in the ever changing world of Kerala. As a result, people are facing extreme pressure in facing the goals and values of the consumer society that has imposed on them. Some unfortunate individuals retreat or withdraw from the competitive situation. The alcoholics and drug addicts are such retreats.

The alcohol, tobacco and drug abusers have failed repeatedly to meet the dominant consumer society’s standards. Those who follow the retreat’s adaptation reject social norms and societal goals. They may experience hopelessness and despair.

The alcoholics and drug addicts, in order to maintain an expensive habit may sell their property, or steal a lot of money. In this context, money mafia, drug pushers, criminals and illicit alcohol traffickers collude with corrupt law enforcement agencies and sell drugs, illicit liquor and tobacco products to addicts for profit. It is reported that alcohol and drug mafia and drug cartels are cultivating high potent Marijuana on thousands of hectors of forest land in Iduki and Waynad.

The state government has the responsibility to save individuals and families affected by alcohol and Marijuana abuse. Since alcoholics, drug addicts and tobacco abusers are incapable of voluntarily giving up their habit-this has become an enormous problem in Kerala. In recent years, alcohol consumption has become more prevalent among rich urban and rural folks. The failure of the government and the society includes both what they have done and what they have not done. The government encourages more alcohol use through licensing more bars and opening liquor stores. This increases government revenue and also provides a cultural definition which says alcohol use is normal and a sure route to the good modern life.

The government has no effective means to arrest or prosecute illicit liquor manufacturers, drug pushers and drug peddlers near schools, colleges and hospitals. The society and the government seldom recognize the consequences on individual and families on alcohol, drug and tobacco abuse. In the process they may be enabling individuals to consume more tobacco, alcohol or drugs.

The health professionals and the media must take the blame for encouraging alcohol abuse and perpetuating the system that generate social problems.

There is no single solution to alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse. The emphasis may be on the alcohol, drug and tobacco abusers (treatment), the manufacturer, pusher and the distributor (arrest, prosecution and fine) or on the socio-cultural milieu within which alcohol use and misuse is discouraged.

We have always known that we must stand for our special values, or we don’t stand for all. Without a special commitment for our Dharma, Can Kerala survive?  Nothing else can hold together such a state and diverse people other than our unifying Santana Dharma?

In this context parents, families, teachers and health care professionals have special responsibility in ensuring that alcohol and drug abuse is prevented.

  • Children, students and individuals must be thoroughly watched by parents, teachers and colleagues for any potential abuse.
  •  Foster motivation for abstinence. An important technique used to enhance motivation to stop alcohol and drug abuse is to do a decisional analysis which clarifies what the individual stands to lose or gain by continued abuse.
  • Teach Coping Skills. Help the individual to recognize the high-risk situations in which they are more likely to drink and abuse alcohol and to develop other, more effective means of coping with them.
  • Change Reinforcement contingencies. Most abusers spent most of their time acquiring, using and recovering from alcohol abuse to the exclusion of other experiences and rewards. Identify and reduce habits associated with alcohol using lifestyle by substituting more enduring, positive activities and rewards.
  • Foster the management of painful affects of alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse.
  • Teach individuals to recognize and cope with urges to alcohol use
  • Improve interpersonal functioning and enhance social-spiritual supports

Decisions about the sale, distribution and use are now made by small groups of corrupt politicians, the alcohol industry, Beverages Corporation and the media. These groups are highly motivated by self-interest and profit. The very nature of these groups limits their competence to fully apprehend the far-reaching implications of the faulty decisions they make, especially a full appreciation of family breakdown, social and ecological costs of alcohol use.

It is time for the general public to use whatever means necessary to eradicate social evils and horrors of alcohol abuse. Public discussion should include, at the very least, a consideration of the moral, philosophical, and political implications of alcohol abuse.

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