Ajit JohnHis father was one of the greatest musicians to come out of Goa. Glenn Perry may not dominate the musical scenario as much as his father Chris Perry did but he has certainly created a name for himself. His prowess as a musician, both in India and abroad, has been certainly established. Glenn is also a socially responsible musician. He recently organized a walkathon to create awareness against drug abuse on the International Day against Drug Abuse to mark this disturbing problem. The 4-km-long walkathon was held from Colva to Benaulim beach.Glenn, speaking about drugs in the State, said it was a rampant problem. He said, “A parent from Panjim invited me to speak with her 14-year-old daughter, Elizabeth. The young girl told me that she began smoking at the age of 12 and had her first hit of drugs at the age of 14. She had gone to a party with her friends, who had persuaded her to do drugs. She now requires drugs on a daily basis. I ran into a teenager in Anjuna. He was sprawled out on the beach. He proudly stated that the syringe had become his best friend. When he injects himself, he forgets about all his problems he bragged. The saddest case was when I encountered a group of young kids in Baga who were laughing hysterically at the sky. They invited me to join them for a round of hashish. When I told them, I don't do drugs, they laughed and told me that I had no idea what I was missing out on in life. When I asked them what drugs did to them, one of them responded by saying that drugs made them cool. Drugs enabled them to outperform their peers in high school and college. These incidents motivated me to organize the walkathon to raise awareness about the dangers of drug use”. Asked how this problem could be tackled, he said, love and compassion should be offered to people who have drug problems. It was important to offer consolidated treatment facilities and drug rehabilitation centres should be constructed. He felt instead of arresting kids for drug possession and usage, they should be enrolled into counseling programmes and admitted into drug rehab centres. Glenn said, “It is time to stop arresting people simply for using or possessing drugs. People with drug problems need help. Those who harm others by selling drugs should be held responsible and apprehended”. Speaking about the role of society in helping those addicted to drugs, Glenn said, it was common for people to cast off drug addicts. Instead of ostracizing drug addicts, the community as a whole should assist them. He pointed out that when drug addicts were scorned, they felt isolated and abandoned. This, he said, resulted in an increase in their drug dosage. He felt anti-drug sports events, workshops, and alcohol and drug-free graduations should be organized by parents, community leaders, and teachers to promote healthy activities. These occasions act as chaperones. Children see this as a positive role model. Parents, educators and community leaders should work together to raise awareness about the local drug abuse problem. Asked how his efforts were perceived by the general public, he said, “In contrast to America and Europe, where people support social causes, I had to persuade people to attend the walkathon in Goa. People in Goa, I noticed, are not used to being a part of such events. When the subject of drugs is brought up, their faces become expressionless. I just hope that more people get involved in supporting these events to help teenagers and young people overcome their addictions. Kids are wonderful. Kids with drug problems should not be scorned. They require assistance. Drugs, like cancer and leprosy, are diseases. Addicts require help. Instead of rescinding them, we should help them and welcome them into our community”. Speaking about the consequences of drug usage, he said it would all start with a puff which then progresses to cannabis, weed, marijuana, and hashish, and finally to hard drugs. He said opiates, cocaine, heroin and alcohol have all been linked to fatal overdoses. Taylor Hawkins, the drummer for multi-platinum rock band, Foo Fighters, had an assortment of drugs in his system, when he died of an overdose, this year. Whitney Houston, Jimi Hendrix, and many more have all died as a result of drugs overdose. With regards to the misconception about drugs, Glenn said many people claim rock bands and stars like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, and others use drugs. And it's because of the drugs they can play and sing amazingly. He said, “My response is that all of these rock stars are naturally gifted musicians. The truth is that the use of drugs has reduced their performance by 60 percent or more. Without the usage of drugs, their music would have been even more incredible.” Glenn ended by sending an emphatic message to drug users: Drugs can never be your friend. Your greatest enemy is drugs. Stay away from drugs. Drugs are satanic. I don't use drugs, drink alcohol, or smoke cigarettes. I do music. Music is an organic high. You don't need drugs. Drugs will kill you.”
It is a message everyone should listen to and follow. Otherwise it is the road to ruin.