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 is a retired School Psychologist and Community