A 22-year-old student from South Delhi’s Jangpura had to be rushed to a de-addiction centre recently. This was after a friend informed his parents about his daily life being crippled by serious ganja addiction.
His father asked for a special room so that there is no inconvenience. The cost was Rs 1.5 lakh a month. The youth was discharged after five months of treatment.
“But four months later, the man called us and said his son had again become an addict. Actually, he never wanted to give it up. During counselling, he had revealed that he grew his own cannabis on a plot of land and also made supplies,” said Moni Verma, who runs the de-addiction facility in Delhi’s Rohini area.
A 27-year-old who takes care of his father’s business in Delhi is also a cannabis addict. “His parents scolded and beat him, but to no avail. He had to be sent to a de-addiction centre in Delhi. They spent Rs 5 lakh for a six-month course. But soon after being again,” his friend Yojana Yadav (32) told Mail Today.
These are just two of the many examples of weed numbing the city’s young who are crowding de-addiction facilities, a Mail Today investigation has revealed.
These centres charge from Rs 2,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh per month. “Proper medication along with meditation, counselling and follow-ups are required. Then there are costs for food and accommodation. There is a minimum expenditure of Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,000,” said Dr. Mukund associated with a de-addiction centre in Pitampura.
However, health experts say that the treatment is not up to the mark and as a result addicts resume drugs.
The situation is so serious that about 25,000 schoolchildren in Delhi are addicted to drugs, the Centre said recently. Somesh Singh, director, Nasha Mukti Kendra, said, “There is a shocking rise in the number of youngsters being taken to rehab.
Almost all de-addiction centers are full. It is a warning sign and the government and nodal agencies must wake up and take swift action to stop Delhi from becoming Udta Punjab.”
“Teenagers are most affected. Easy availability is a major reason behind school children falling in the trap. Cannabis is the first step to getting into the world of synthetic drugs,” he said.
He said addicts from well-off families demand AC rooms, sofas, smart TVs and restaurant food. “Some behave as if they have come for a break,” Singh said.
The situation has prompted cops to mark new supply hotspots for a crackdown in Delhi that has become the world’s third-biggest cannabis consumer.
Madho Singh, NCB’s former zonal director, said Uttam Nagar, Kashmiri Gate, Dwarka, North Campus, Kalkaji are some of the cannabis hotspots where peddlers make supplies.
“Youngsters are more vulnerable. A lot of them are taking weed. Easy availability, cheap price quest for a high are some of the reasons,” he said.
In 2018, Delhi and Mumbai consumed 38.2 tonnes and 32.4 tonnes of marijuana, respectively, according to a latest study by German data firm ABCD. On a list of 120 cities, Delhi was only behind New York and Karachi. Mumbai had the sixth spot.
Sanjeev Yadav, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell), said: “Cultivation of cannabis in India is one of the reasons consumption has gone up. Also, low cost attracts the vulnerable. Manipur, Myanmar, Assam West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Western Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are areas from where peddlers send consignments to Delhi.”
This year, police and Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) officials have seized 2,500 kg of marijuana from Delhi. “We’re going to intensify our crackdown,” said a senior police official.
Cannabis is sold at Rs 315 to Rs 350 per gram in Delhi. But addicts are switching to costlier varieties brought from the US in the form of oil and wax for party drug-like high, multiple doctors told Mail Today. Youngsters are also consuming weed brownies and marijuana-mixed tea, they said.
“Peddlers are using several mobile applications to connect with international rackets. Ewallets are used for payments,” said an NCB official.