While Bal Gangadhar Tilak used Ganeshotsav to unite people for the freedom struggle, Powai residents are doing something similar to try and get the area’s youth off drugs. The residents, guided by their local rotary group, are targeting upcoming fests, such as the Powai fest and Run for Hiranandani, to spread awareness about the rising drug addiction problem in youngsters.
“The availability of cannabis in Powai has led to this dangerous trend here and it’s affecting youth across all strata of society. Certain societies have issued circulars to their members, warning them that children use refuge areas to consume drugs. The next step was to unite the residential societies and work together to get rid of the menace,” said Mamta Asthana, project coordinator, the Lakers.
Seeing the alarming rise in the number of Powai youth getting addicted to drugs like cannabis, Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital’s psychiatry department, along with the Lakers (Rotary Club), launched a programme ‘Drug Education for Youth (D.E.F.Y.)’ to educate parents and bring awareness on the issue.
“To begin with, we distributed badges to children in Hiranandani School during their fest last week. The badges said ‘I Defy Drugs’. There were informative banners put up on the premises as well,” said Asthana. She added that for the Powai fest in January 2014, they have planned street plays.
“We have representatives from every building who are ideating on how to bring down the menace in our locality.Now, we are reaching out to the whole of Powai, including Chandivli,” said Asthana.
The resident group plans to reach out to other resident groups once the programme roles out completely in Powai.
“Cannabis addiction is ruining careers. In Powai, we saw an increasing number of boys and girls aged between 13 and 20 smoking weed in the refuge area of buildings, parks, gardens and many other public places. It’s the same with the rest of Mumbai and, hence, the whole city should join hands in the movement,” said Asthana.
Applauding the Powai resident groups initiative, Dr Harish Shetty, senior psychiatrist from Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital, said, “Cannabis is known to affect a person’s power of judgement, apart from triggering psychosis and depression. The drug demotivates you, makes you lethargic too. It is good that residential groups are joining hands to fight the menace.