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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 June 2006, 16:42 GMT 17:42 UK
India's elite cocaine users
Cocaine is fast growing into the drug of choice for India's wealthy elite, reports say. Here, one former user, a 23-year-old from Jammu, tells BBC World Service's Outlook programme about his experience.

Man smoking cocaine
Cocaine is too expensive for most Indians
I was studying in Pune and I met this girl at a party, and we became friends - and she took me to a pusher to try cocaine.

The first time I did it was something very different. My heart rate went very low. I thought, 'heaven, heaven' when the drug was in me.

I had a restlessness about the drug, a feeling that I had to take it. Slowly, steadily, I started becoming an addict.

The first time you take it, you get a totally different feeling - you feel like you have to do it, you cannot live without it.

It wasn't easy to get cocaine, but I got it because of this girl, because she was doing it and she had known the pusher for a very long time.

I started picking up from him - I used to give him 500 rupees (about $10) extra, 200 extra - slowly and steadily he found I was cool, I would pay for the stuff.

When I was consuming the drug, I did not think I was an addict. I thought I was fine. But after only one or two days without it I had to do it again.

This feeling was always there, but me and my friends didn't realise we were 'in' cocaine. We wanted it all the time. Even if we didn't get food, we had to spend money on cocaine.

We used to sell things, or carry off scams. We used to borrow money, saying we needed it for other things. For a year I didn't pay my college fees - around 55,000 rupees - and I said, 'let's do cocaine for the whole year.'

But then, slowly, things started getting messy.

Blackmailing parents

Then my parents came to know what I was doing, and they came and took me back to Jammu.

There, I started blackmailing them. I was a big bike freak and I wanted a Yamaha. So I used to go out, smoke up, and then come home and say, 'I've smoked up today - if you don't get me the bike, I won't quit cocaine.'

Go to any college - drugs are the most common thing right now
I didn't realise what I was doing because that worm was there in my head, that ego thing.

But my parents took me to the Turning Point Foundation rehabilitation centre, and that was the point my life turned. I realised the character defects and the attitude problems that I had, all the dirt that was in my head because of cocaine.

When I was doing cocaine, I thought, 'all the celebrities do this - I will become like them - I'll be cool, I'll have girls all around me.'

Something really changed in me, and my spirituality got disturbed. It was something very bad.

Now I realise how I behaved, I cry, thinking 'what was I doing?' Now, because of Turning Point, I have realised where I am, where I stand.

This is India - I have to adjust to the environment, communicate with the people. I couldn't live my whole life with that attitude. I thought I was God - and that was because of cocaine.

But go to any college - drugs are the most common thing right now.

All over India, if there are 50 students in a class, at least 15 of them will be taking one drug or another.

It's very, very common. And I don't think the police or college faculties can or will do anything about it.

No-one goes after the pushers or the users - they are all kept safe. And because of that, nothing will change.



SEE ALSO
UN report flags up India drug use
23 May 06 |  South Asia
India drug gang charged
15 Jul 03 |  South Asia

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