BJP Suggests Mandatory Drug Test in Punjab Schools | Really?

The Problem is: Every Parent always assumes any Drug Addict, as someone else’s Child.

It’s good to keep generating ideas. But there’s must be some deep thinking before making them public. Particularly when the ideas relate to school students and also, when the idea or statement relates to sensitive issue. But BJP has a habit of scoring points, wherever and whenever it can. Taking the latest example for instance. Seeing that talking about drug menace in Punjab has become a fashion, a Punjab BJP leader has suggested a mandatory drug tests for all students above class 8.

BJP Leader Vineet Joshi has even submitted the memorandum to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, in this regard. Mr. Joshi is of the view that since addicts mostly belong to young age group, a screening at schools and colleges will help. for the screening he suggests urine and blood tests at time of admission in school. Akali Dal ministers are not prepared to take the proposal seriously. And rightly so. But the BJP ministers are considering its viability and the possible methods of implementation.

Whatever the numbers, such as — As many as 67% of rural households have at least one addict OR in some areas, the use of heroin among 15-25-year-olds is as high as 75% — one can’t have such screenings, not only in the school level, but in college level as well. As a matter of fact, such screenings are not good for any adult out of school as well. Why? As Drug addiction, is not a simple issue. Drug addiction has social stigma attached to it. Who will take the responsibility of the consequences (social stigma attached or social boycott) of the student (or any individual, if the findings of such screenings become public?

I saw many parents and teachers supporting such mandatory drug tests, but they are surely not considering the privacy of a child or an individual. They are mindlessly supporting this, simply assuming that, a child trapped in the drug addiction is always someone else’s child. This is not true, as every drug addict is somebody’s child. There are much better ways to tackle Drug addiction in any society.

The Government can educate parents, through various modes of information channels, about the tell-tale signs of addiction to any drugs. Some of these include — remaining aloof, distancing oneself from the society, suspicious stains in cloths, suspicious smells, bad company, loss of appetite, abnormal mood swings etc. These are just broad examples, an expert can inform about these signs and behaviors in a better manner. The dissemination of such expert information is Government’s responsibility. Doing mandatory blood and urine tests to nail down a drug user is simply not the work of the Government. Taking into account the various stigmas associated to drug use, it’s always better to leave the decision of Drug screening and rehabilitation to the individual, parents and family.

One of the reasons for drug addiction in Punjab and elsewhere is the drug trafficking from Pakistan. The Government at Centre must take steps to decrease that inflow. That apart, opiates are easily available in Punjab due to its cultivation inf neighboring Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The Governments of these states must try to curb such illegal cultivation of drugs.