Saturday, July 28, 2012


Ramya's father, Ranganathan silently twisted the knob of her daughters room, squeaking sound of unused door is no more a nuisance to him or to his family anymore. The family had experienced a lot of trauma and anxiety they could ever have imagined. Ranagnathan couldn’t believe how this room once buzzed with joy is now greeting him with nightmares. There was a burst of Ramya s back pack, pink in shade and a smiling teddy bear in shades of maroon still in a blissful mood. The bed looks made with its purple covers still in perfect shape. 

       The blood stains still keep flashing across his mind, bringing a horrific episode of Ramya's suicide attempt to slit her veins of her arms. Ranganathan wondered what made a 18 yr old girl to take such a stand. The plethora of events that folded before him brought his world down. When Ramya s mom checked her daughter’s pocket, there were packets of white powder, illegally speaking cocaine or colloquially called coke. Her mother was shattered after seeing the needle marks all over her daughter’s arms. She was weeping and cursing all gods, claiming to be responsible for Ramya's state. 
Ramya’s fair complexion was punctured with red spots marking the number of times the needle has found entry in to this beautiful creature. Her nostrils were reddened because of the dope attack and her pupils dilated, which once were beaming with joy. Before Ranganathan could recover from this chilling incident he had more agony to testify. Many wouldn’t believe if he has to admit that his teenage daughter has broken her father’s arm with a golf club for not paying for her dope. He had to hear all the foul words and curse from the small lips, which once parted to say ‘papa’.

Ranganathan never believed in supreme powers, but now he has his head bowed in silent prayer. One could hear was a silent cry with tears running down his cheeks, asking God to help his 18 year-old daughter through withdrawal from her heroin addiction. Where did he fail?? He was a loving dad, taught her to draw and attended her choir classes. Or where was he short of??? How did it get messed up??

Heroin addicts aren’t high school students, they’re people who live on the streets and beg for change. Heroin addicts don’t have a 9 grade point average and apply for acceptance into the top colleges. According NIDA*, there s no single factor that can cause drug addiction, but we are an overall mixture of biological product greatly influenced by gender or ethnicity, his or her developmental stage, and the surrounding social environment (e.g., conditions at home, at school, and in the neighborhood).

Ramya was using coke for nearly 8 months, not always regularly, but in recent weeks her appetite for heroin increased and her dad discovered that his coin collection and jewelry were gone. Her allowance was generous, even by upper middle class standards, but once the addiction took over, it was insufficient to buy her the desired amount of the drug. She stole from her parents when her pocket money was just peanuts for 10 gm of coke. As she increased her usage, Ramya discovered that not having enough drugs was far worse than having the problem of addiction. Coming off heroin was difficult. 

What actually happens in our biological system is pretty complex, involving neuro transmitters such as dopamine. To speak in English, the chemicals found in heroine can fool the brain by producing messengers. They are similar to neuro transmitters which are normally produced by our brain. The result is a brain awash in neuro transmitters that control movement, emotion, motivation, and feelings of a pleasure. When this is prolonged, the brain adapts to the overwhelming surges in dopamine (neuro transmitter), thereby lesser ability to enjoy the drugs. So they naturally want to bring the dopamine back to normal, in other words more pleasure, resulting in higher intakes of drugs.

When they are devoid of drugs they become maniacs and ready to sacrifice anything for a single shot of heroine. Many teenage girls were found trading flesh, and there s no turning back. Stories of high school girls being preys of such gruesome acts lie unscathed.  This sinister is deeply wound in metro s and has started to creep in other cities too. Drug addiction is quite a complex disease and requires deeper appreciation about, how our brain works. Let me not get into treatment part, hoping that a deeper understanding is what required for most malicious entities. 

Ranganathan watches the alarm clock in Ramya s table ticking; soon he has to take Ramya to the rehabilitation program. The program where your behavior patterns are studied and therapies are tailor made. Ranganathan doesn’t have much to hinge upon, or expect miracles to occur. He has been pushed to walls, with Faith engulfing him, just like a ray at the end of the tunnel.

(Courtesy: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA*) for the valuable scientific inputs.)