Punjab's drug problem is a major issue in the upcoming assembly polls for all the parties. In the last six-seven years the drug menace has intensified due massive unemployment among youngsters and easy availability of synthetic drugs. The easy availability of opium (afeem), smack and heroin points towards some kind of patronage drug cartels enjoy in the state. The addicts, in a bid to feed their habit, have turned to become pedellers, which is a clear sign of situation spiraling out of control.
Much of the drugs in Punjab comes from across the border, with Afghanistan having become one of the largest opium producers in the world. Several studies indicate that large number of youths are addicted to drugs in Punjab, politicians though vehemently deny it. This has undoubtedly triggered massive economic and social devastation in Punjab.
Politics over drug problem:
The Aam Aadmi Party has blatantly accused the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal of giving patronage to these drug cartels. AAP has in fact gone on to say that some of the SAD leaders are actively involved in drug trade.
SAD, on its part, has downplayed the issue and even protested against the movie 'Udta Punjab', which revolves around Punjab's drug problem. SAD government gave several advertisements of the TV claiming that youth of Punjab were 'not addicts'. They said that opposition was attempting to tarnish the state's reputation for political gains.
The recently released manifesto of the Congress party for the upcoming assembly accuses the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP of ruining Punjab's reputation from being "the granary of India" to a state-riddled with drug abuse.