New Delhi: For many sipping a hot cup ofcoffee or tea with friends and family cosied around a heateris enough to brave the cold. For others, a bottle of coughsyrup, provides the "high" to survive long winter nights. From students to professionals to ragpickers, abuse ofprescription drugs can be found across all segments ofsociety, with people commonly using them as sedatives, sayphysicians. Anindya, a 45-year-old rickshaw puller from WestBengal, often downs a bottle of cough syrup after a long dayat work. All cough syrups contain codeine, a morphine extractresponsible for a "high" feeling when consumed in largequantities. "Cough syrups, painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs arethe most abused prescription drugs and hence have a high salein the capital," says Dr Chandra M Gulhati, editor of thecivil society journal `Monthly Index of Medical Specialities`and a former drug expert with WHO. Either voluntary or by accident, addiction isdescribed by doctors as a stepwise process. Addicts firststart off with cough syrup, graduating to painkillers andlater resorts to anti-anxiety drugs.
While some do it for fun and to stay `high` in theirplatonic world away from daily stress, others like insomniacsand those suffering chronic pain turn addicts accidentally.PTI
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