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Tackling Addiction

Sep. 07, 2009
Vancoucer, BC, Canada

Addiction of any kind-to drugs, gambling, alcohol or anything else usually leads to fairly tragic consequences. The habit often starts with recreational intent. In many cases habits progress to addiction. At that point it begins to control the individual rather than the other way around.

Like members of every other community, a large number of Indo-Canadians are very hard working, generous, productive and outstanding citizens. They are able to lead very healthy and happy lives. They avoid addiction of any kind. However, like members of other communities, a small number of Indo-Canadians fall victim to it, particularly addiction to alcohol. This usually results in devastating consequences not only for the individual but also for the entire family. Children and women are often the collateral damage in this process. A recent study done in the Toronto area highlighted problems caused by alcohol use/abuse by a small section of men in the Indo-Canadian community. These included family conflict, domestic violence, isolation, loneliness and depression.

The solution lies in creating more awareness about the havoc caused by excessive or problem drinking. In this context, White Rock based Peace Arch Community Services (PACS) has prepared an excellent video. It is called Kharab Daru/Bad Medicine. The video is very well done. Though it is in Punjabi yet there are subtitles in English as well. It contains extremely valuable information. More information about the video and its availability can be obtained by contacting PACS at 604-538-2522.

Another initiative worth mentioning in this regard was jointly launched recently by two of Richmonds prominent non-profit organizations. Richmond Multicultural Concerns Society (RMCS) and Richmond Addiction Services (RAS) have been providing very valuable services to the community for a long time. Both of these organizations have just begun to train community Ambassadors to address the issue of alcohol use/misuse in the Indo-Canadian community. As part of this program, a number of well educated, interested and concerned members of the Indo-Canadian community have been trained to help individuals and families in dealing with alcohol related issues.
These Ambassadors will be reaching out to the community through the media, places of worship and other outlets. Their main objective will be to help those in need and create more awareness about the harm caused by alcohol addiction or abuse. They can be reached by contacting RMCS at 604-279-7160 or RAS at 604-270-9220.

The video Kharab Daru/Bad Medicine and the Ambassadors are just two of the initiatives that should be helpful not only for the Indo-Canadian community but also the community at large. There are a number of other programs designed to address this problem as well. Hopefully, all of such initiatives and programs will reach those individuals and families who sorely need them.

As a community, we need to create more awareness about the dire consequences of alcohol use/abuse. Some individuals and families often suffer in silence rather than seeking out help. We need to encourage them to get help. At the same time, we need to lobby different levels of government to provide more culturally sensitive resources and services to help those in need.

Finally, the Indo-Canadian media should continue its commendable efforts at increasing more awareness in the community. It is in an excellent position to play an important role in addressing this issue. It is a challenge for us all. And we must do everything within our means to meet the challenge head on.

Balwant Sanghera
(Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist)



Balwant Sanghera

Balwant Sanghera
President, Punjabi Language Education Association . He is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist in British Columbia ,Canada.