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Death for 50 Rupees

Death for 50 Rupees

Author:   Enrico Fabian

Country:   India

Date of addition: 06.04.2012

“I smoked heroin for a long, long time but since two years I only inject. It’s cheaper and somehow the same”, said
Darminder, his clothes and body marked by an endless seeming life on the street, his eyes sad and tired by years of
constant pharmaceutical drug abuse. A few hours later the 17-year-old boy from Bihar was dead. In an argument about
money for more drugs he was brutally beaten by false friends and was left to die in a dirty alley next to a waste picker
colony. The police later had him dumped at the local hospital’s morgue and he, as many others, disappeared far before his
time. Eventually Darminder became a victim of a medicine actually produced for a different purpose; to ease pain, to heal,
to help people.
While worldwide the numbers of heroin users is constantly increasing, another even much more disturbing form of drug
abuse is growing steadily yet largely unrecognized. Pharmaceuticals, especially opium derivatives, meant for a totally
different clientele are on their rise to dominate the drug market in 3rd world- and threshold countries. Either the medicine
is copied from the original product and reproduced in underground labs or dubious agents of certain pharmacy companies
strike deals they were never supposed to. At the end the offered product is meant for one purpose only, to earn money
through the users’ addiction.
In the India of the 21st century this kind of drug abuse has become a disturbing phenomenon and has lead and still leads
to catastrophic consequences. While the homeless people of every age tranquilize their daily struggle other clients have
entered the stage a long time ago: from simple day laborers earning a small living for their families while working at the
nearby, gigantic, vegetable and fruit wholesale market, to municipal employees easing their responsibilities in the job with
a little injection here and there. What was once unimaginable, especially in a life full of social and religious responsibility,
has become a sad reality.
The choice of drugs available is vast and offers everything, for everybody, for every circumstance of life. Purchasing these
drugs is as easy as buying cough syrup at the supermarket and one just has to pass by at one of the many pharmacies
spread all over the big cities and small villages to purchase whatever one feels like. The medicine, not supposed to be given
to anyone without prescription from a doctor, is sold for a price even the poor can afford. An ampule Buprenorphine (a
semi-synthetic opioid actually used to treat opioid addiction), an ampule Diazepam (a benzodiazepine derivative drug also
known as Valium), an ampule Avil (a antihistamine which lessens the side effects of the two other drugs) and two
disposable syringes are sold for 50 Rupees, a little less than 1 USD. Depending on the customer’s relation to the pharmacy
owner, an additional strong antidepressant tablet or extra morphine is handed out for free.
The consequences of this irresponsible, shameless business dealing with people’s lives and fate are devastating. Faces,
once full of enthusiasm and vitality slowly turn into lifeless masks trying to hide their unquenchable need for more and
more and more. Bodies once full of power and strength become only a hull carrying blood borne diseases like AIDS, caused
by the exchange of needles. Loosing ones job, families or children are only a few examples out of a chain of actions being
as long as terrifying.
Besides all these difficulties they face in their everyday lives, or even because of them, the level of constant psychological
and physical violence is very high. Especially for the rising number of drug abusing children and teenagers, the situation is
as bad as it could get. The alliances between them and the older, more experienced users result in twisted friendships
based on their addiction. Although the kids can rely on a certain protection by the older ones, at the same time they are
constantly endangered to be misused in any way imaginable.
The addicts’ minds are so much occupied by their addiction that they barely recognize the destructive exploitation of their
bodies and minds. Their daily habit is essential to them – even though it already destroyed their former lives.
Amongst all the people trapped in this vicious circle of poverty, addiction, violence and lost dreams, 17 year old
Darminder’s life took a very wrong turn. Like that of many others before him…and like that of many more to come.

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