GUWAHATI: A high-level committee of experts from the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has been constituted to draft a joint action plan to address the issue of drugs and substance abuse among children.

The objectives of the joint action plan were discussed threadbare during a district-level awareness workshop organised by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in collaboration with the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR) here.

Speakers at the workshop emphasised on the urgent need to wean away children from using drugs and substances and stressed on prohibition of sale of drugs and substances near schools and other educational institutes through enforcement of existing laws.

The participants urged the authorities to provide coverage of various existing schemes, programmes and policies for treatment and rehabilitation of children using drugs and substances.

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The committee members underlined the need to highlight roles and responsibilities as well as strengthen the capacity of various stakeholders in prevention of drugs and substance use among children and its illicit trafficking.

They also stressed the need to increase awareness and replicate best practices, boost surveillance in areas around schools, educational institutions and pharmacies to ensure the drugs and substances do not reach the children and ensure enforcement of legal provisions in respect to sale of drugs and substances to children, use of children in trafficking drugs and other matters.

The members further suggested the need to adopt a zero-tolerance policy on drugs and substance abuse among children through integrated efforts of all stakeholders in a convergent manner.

Cooperation was also sought from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE); Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW); Ministry of Education, National Cadet Corps (NCC), Ministry of Home Affairs, National Service Scheme (NSS), Ministry of Youth Affairs, Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) and Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

Sunita Changkakati, chairperson, ASCPCR; Suswapna Kakoty, ADC Kamrup Metro; Rakesh C. Shukla, Zonal Director, Guwahati Zone, Narcotics Control Bureau; Hemanta Kumar Das, deputy commissioner of police (administration), Guwahati and Kabin Chandra Goswami, Chairperson, Child Welfare Committee, Kamrup (Metro) were among the dignitaries present at the awareness workshop.

The workshop was also attended by officials from excise, education, social welfare departments as well as NGOs and students.

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