Fourteen-year-old Sukhwinder Singh, a student of Class 8, died of drug overdose on Friday at Tapa Kheda village in Muktsar. The child lived with his maternal grandfather, mother, an elder sister and younger brother after the death of his father. Sukhwinder’s grandfather Mahant Singh said his grandson died of drug overdose and had been taking drugs for past one year and all efforts to wriggle him out of it went futile.
He said on July 7, he was away from home as he had to go to Jalalabad for some work, when some boys came home and took Sukhwinder with them. That evening, Sukhwinder came back home with a bleeding arm and his condition was serious. He died late that evening, Mahant Singh said.
The grandfather alleged that drugs are being sold openly, specially for past two three years, and the police has not arrested any drug peddler so far. He said small kids are also taking drugs in the village now. If the administration fails to take action, the village will be ruined because of drugs, the old man said.
Sanjeev Sharma, who runs Lifeline Foundation, a drug rehabilitation centre in Patiala said, “Drug abuse has gone down to some extent owing to government steps and alcohol addiction cases are more now as compared to the earlier heroin addiction cases."
“We do not keep children as families do not let them get treated strictly and take them away. They do not admit the kids for rehabilitation. But, the only way to save them is rehabilitation."
“Children follow their peer group or even someone in family when they take to drugs. We have seen the problem has increased in villages and reason could be anything,” he said.
“State government has taken some steps, more rehabilitation centres have been opened and people are becoming aware as well. Post COVID-19 in villages, drug peddling as an easy way out to make money, has also increased as we have seen in children who came to us. The problem could have increased if lockdown was not lifted and business had not resumed to normal.”
“First and only step for any parent if the child is found to be addicted is to get the child in rehabilitation. Put the child under six months of rehabilitation, psychological counselling, mediation, yoga and care, to save them from death, which is a certainty otherwise," said Sharma.