IIM Study: Role Of Bollywood And Music Industry In Promoting Drug Abuse

A study conducted by IIM,Rohtak, led by its Director Dr Dheeraj Sharma, on  the pattern of  drug abuse in India reveals role of Bollywood and Music industry in promoting drug abuse in India.Data for the survey was collected from 872 convicted drug peddlers across Punjab, Gujarat, and Delhi. The key findings are listed below and the full report can be downloaded here.

The results indicated many counter-intuitive insights. First, 78.10 percent of drug peddlers reported that they used to consume drugs and selling of drugs was limited to those amongst their friends and family. Of these, around 56.54 percent respondents became drug peddlers as a result of being a regular drug user. A majority of the respondents (86.70%) argued that they were trapped into drug trafficking by their drug suppliers with whom they had frequent interaction owing their consumption habits. The survey questionnaire also included questions on understanding the nature of the drug trade. 77.06 percent of the respondents asserted that drugs are not indigenous and most of the drugs are brought from other countries. 81.88 percent also reported that the drugs they used to sell were routed to India from neighboring countries of India.

The peddlers were also asked to give inputs relating to the country they think the drugs are infiltrated in India. Majority of the drug peddlers (83.94 percent) reported that the drugs are infiltrated in India from Pakistan. This was followed by Nepal (5.05 percent), and Afghanistan (4.24 percent). The detailed distribution of the countries is shown in the graph below. Similarly, we also asked them to report how drug suppliers operate and were asked to rank them based on the frequency of the method used. For our analysis, we considered the mean ratings of all the respondents to rank the modus operandi of drug peddlers in India. The results show that cross border transactions are the most common form of operation. This is followed by tourists, Illegal travelers and border crossers, college students, and business people. The most favorable place to sell drugs according to the respondents were (ranked from best to worst): 1 .Pubs and Bars 2. Restaurants and hotels, 3. Colleges and Universities, 4. Drug rehab centers, 5. Schools.

The drug peddlers were also asked questions pertaining to the profitability of the drug trade. Almost the majority of the respondents reported that on an average a profit of more than 10 lakhs is reaped from selling drugs worth INR 1 lakh. It demonstrates that the drug trade has a profitability of more than 1000 percentage. Lastly, two questions pertaining to the society and drugs were also asked. More than 85 percent of the respondents (86.12%) believed that music that promotes drugs has increased the drug consumption among the youth. They contended that consumption of drugs was accompanied by music that talked about drug use and absurdity of life. On a similar note, 79.36 percent believed that Bollywood movies that glorify drugs has resulted in an increased intention to consume drugs. Specifically, the respondents reported that almost all of their clients and they themselves were trying to imitate some actor/actress from Bollywood and that drugs would result in them feeling confident about themselves. On measurement scale for self-esteem, most respondents reported very low self-esteem (scale of 1 to 7 average score was 2.4). Self-esteem was measured by Rosenberg’s self-esteem scale on four items (Rosenberg, 1965)

The study does provide some insights from the perspective of those convicted in the illegal drug related cases. Consequently, it may be useful to counsel individual at early age, particularly in schools about the menace of drug abuse. Also, health facilities and provision of rehabilitation must be strengthened. Given that some Bollywood movies play a role in glorification of consumption and trade of illegal drugs, akin to the warning that is delayed for cigarette smoking in movies, there needs to be similar warning when characters are shown consuming drugs.  In other words, the viewers should warned of penalties that arise from consumption and trade of drugs. More specifically, random drug tests in institutions could be instituted. Also, given that majority of the drugs are infiltrated from neighboring countries, the border deterrence could be enhanced. Further, college students and pubs are the most common target consumer segment for drug peddlers. Hence, the administrators of academic institutions should take appropriate measures and test for drug abuse. Also, pubs should be regulated. Finally, given that drugs are a lucrative trade, it is likely to see more prevalence in places where there is wealth. Hence, metropolitan cities need to develop special units or strengthen the existing special units for dealing with illegal drug cases.

The full report can be downloaded here:

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