Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Neil and I am a recovering drug addict. I have been sober for about two-and-a-half years now. My main substance of abuse was cocaine and a very casual but regular use of marijuana hashish (as it is so easily available everywhere).
I started using drugs when I was 17. I got into the wrong company of friends who were older and doing different drugs. And that’s how it all started, out of curiosity. But later it was something that gave me a different high so I continued with my other friends who were around the same age as I was. It all seems super fun when you start. But the actual problems start a little later and that’s when you come to realise you are already hooked on to it and start taking the easier ways out in life. For example, giving reasons like, “I can’t study any more”, and dropping out of college and various other things.
I was indeed very lucky that my parents found out about my problem at a nascent stage and decided to act on it in a very mature, understanding and loving way. It was tough love at first when they put me in a rehabilitation centre, where I found my mentor and role model Rev. Fr. Joe Pereira.
After over two-and-a-half years of being clean, I am today a recreational triathlete. I qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship and will be sharing the privilege of being one of the four flag-bearers for India in Chattanooga, Tennessee (USA) where the race is supposed to happen on September 10.
As for legalising marijuana, one positive outcome is that it might be helpful to a certain category of cancer patients to relieve their pain. We are talking about roughly 0.09 per cent of the population, which falls in that category. In my opinion, all the current political decisions are business-driven and are meant to help certain people who fall in the high socio-economic category.
If at all this law gets through and marijuana is legalised, there’s a high chance that doctors will start exploiting the situation to give prescriptions to people for financial benefit.
It’s next to impossible that legalising it will stop drug-peddling. Demand for this plant is very high and not everyone will have the privilege of getting it legally through some doctor. So drug-peddling will certainly continue.
If marijuana is legalised, the whole mindset of parents who currently think it is wrong for their children to smoke will change over time and they will be more lenient if they find out their children are doing it. Multiple studies have suggested that use of marijuana over the years has only negative effects on the user. No one gets smart or super brainy by smoking it. On the contrary, studies show that people tend to get slow and dumb with regular and prolonged use. I can vouch for this from personal experience — starting to smoke weed is the first step towards trying harder drugs. Not everyone gets hooked on to them like I did. But quite a few do. So, why jeopardise the whole nation by legalising marijuana for the sake of a small percentage of the population (say cancer patients who are in their last stages)? There are other ways of reducing pain.
(Neil D’silvha is a recovering drug addict. He is a recreational triathlete, who qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship. He is one of the four flag-bearers for India in Chattanooga, Tennessee (USA), where the race will be run on September 10.)