An important survey on drug use in the country begins this month.

The resulting study will attempt to provide us with concrete information on who are using drugs, what drugs they’re abusing, and how they’re abusing it. A picture will also be painted of what the social and health impacts of drug use are.

The last such study was conducted in 2009, so an update on the situation is urgently needed.

We need to know how effective our national drug prevention programme has been. We need to know if drug use has declined, and identify areas of this programme that have to be strengthened.

An important question that needs to be answered is if we’ve managed to bring down demand.

It’s still, disturbingly, a regular affair to see images of numerous seized strips of spasmo-proxyvon tablets, a pain-reliever distinguishable by its blue coating, in the media.

We’re also hearing of people smoking the drug called brown sugar, which is an adulterated form or heroin, in the country today.

Therefore, the importance of the study cannot be understated. It must provide us with a clear picture of the drug scenario in the country today so that not only concerned agencies can adapt their strategies at countering this menace, but families and citizens.

Some of the answers that the study will look to find or prove, we already know.

We know the sources for most of these drugs are from across the border. Authorities have been doing a commendable job in disrupting supply. But there’s no denying the fact that supply continues. This is because demand continues to exist. Any successful long-term strategy will depend on reducing demand.

Studies show that, generally, it is those who are suffering from mental stress, depression, and anxiety, among others, who are more likely to use drugs. It is important that such people and their friends and family are aware of available treatments like counselling. It is equally important that we build our counselling capacity and outreach.

Bought at I also had to take the med for almost a year. First high doses, then slowly let slip out. It helped me well, with almost zero side effects. Dry mouth, therefore permanently thirsty, red moon face, other than that OK.

Efforts are already underway to strengthen prevention and treatment by the government.

It is also our responsibility as citizens to know as much as possible about drug prevention and treatment, to update our strategies and cast away misconceptions, and most importantly to get involved, and counter this menace.