The Danger of Gambling & Drug Addiction among College Students in India with a Focus on Punjab

Abstract: This article discusses the alarming rise of gambling and drug addiction among college students in India, with a specific focus on states like Punjab. While pursuing education is considered a gateway to a brighter future, an unfortunate trend involving young minds’ vulnerability to gambling and drug abuse has emerged. This article discusses the root causes, consequences, and potential solutions to mitigate this growing concern, which is termed one of the most critical areas of concern concerning youths of the Country, which is about 65 percent of the total 1400 million population of the Country.

Introduction: College life is a pivotal phase of personal and academic growth, but it is also a period marked by significant challenges, including exposure to vices like gambling and drug abuse. This article sheds light on the dangers associated with these behaviors among college students in India, emphasizing the state of Punjab. While gambling and drug addiction have pervasive negative impacts, they seem even more pronounced among college students due to various socio-cultural and psychological factors. Higher education has become more critical because of India’s commitment to attaining a Gross Enrolment Ratio of 50% at the higher education level by 2035, envisaged in NEP 2020.

Root Causes: Several factors contribute to the susceptibility of college/university students, particularly in states like Punjab, to gambling and drug addiction; however, the present Government in Punjab is trying hard to control the use of drugs.

Peer Pressure: The desire to remain fit among peers often leads students to experiment with risky behaviors, including gambling and drugs.

Stress & Academic Pressure: The competitive nature of education and parental expectations can drive students towards unhealthy coping mechanisms like gambling and drug use.

Easy Access to Gambling & Drugs: Proximity to casinos, easy access to online gambling platforms, and drug peddlers increase the accessibility of these vices.

Lack of Awareness: Insufficient education about the perils of addiction and inadequate mental health support exacerbate the vulnerability of students.

Cultural Norms: In states like Punjab, cultural factors can normalize particular gambling or substance use types, making it harder to recognize the risks.

Consequences: The consequences of gambling and drug addiction among college/university students are far-reaching and often devastating:

Academic Impairment: Addiction impairs cognitive function and focus, leading to poor academic performance and even dropouts.

Financial Ruin: Excessive gambling can lead to massive debts and financial instability, jeopardizing students’ prospects.

Physical & Mental Health: Drug abuse poses significant risks to an individual’s physical and mental health, which may lead to a decline in overall quality of life.

Social Isolation: Addiction often drives a wedge between students and their friends and family, exacerbating loneliness.

Legal Consequences: Involvement in illegal activities related to gambling and drug abuse can result in legal troubles with lasting implications.

Statistics: To underscore the gravity of the issue, consider the following statistics:

According to a survey by the premier institution, the National Institute of Mental Health &  Neurosciences, Karnataka, around 20 percent of Indian college students are engaged in gambling, ranging from casual to more serious activities.

The same study found that approximately 10 percent of college students in India have experimented with drugs, with Punjab ranking among the top states for drug abuse.

All India Institute of Medical Sciences study revealed that drug abuse among college students in Punjab has surged by 600 percent over the past decade.

The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) reported that Punjab has the highest prevalence of tobacco use in India, which often serves as a gateway to more severe substance abuse.

Mitigation Strategies: Addressing the issue of gambling and drug addiction among college/university students requires a multifaceted approach:

Education & Awareness Campaigns: Educational institutions and relevant authorities should launch awareness campaigns to educate students about gambling and drug abuse dangers.

Mental Health Support: Colleges should offer accessible and confidential mental health services to help students cope with stress and anxiety in healthier ways.

Parental and Peer Involvement: Through open communication and positive influences, parents, peers, and mentors are vital in guiding students away from destructive behaviors.

Regulations and Restrictions: Stricter regulations on gambling establishments and controlled substance distribution can limit students’ exposure to these vices.

Counseling & Rehabilitation Centers: Establishing counseling and rehabilitation centers tailored explicitly to college students can provide them with the necessary support to overcome addiction.

Conclusion: The rise of gambling and drug addiction among college students, particularly in states like Punjab, is a concerning trend that demands immediate attention. By understanding the root causes, recognizing the consequences, and implementing comprehensive strategies, we can create an environment where students are empowered to make healthier choices and safeguard their futures from the clutches of addiction. Through collaborative efforts among educational institutions, families, and society, we can mitigate the dangers posed by these vices and pave the way for a brighter and more prosperous tomorrow for our youth.

Education for All in India