GUWAHATI: Ways to address drug challenges in health and humanitarian crises were discussed and deliberated upon during a meeting on the occasion of “International Day against Drugs Abuse and Illicit Trafficking” at the Assam Police headquarters here on Sunday.

Participating as chief guest during the programme organised under the aegis of Assam CID, state minister for social justice and empowerment Pijush Hazarika stressed on sensitising the parents and the society about the ill effects of the use of drugs and said that they can play a pivotal role in curbing use of drugs.

Lauding the efforts of the Assam Police for their zero-tolerance policy against drug traffickers, Hazarika laid stress on mass awareness against drugs by involving all stakeholders, besides formulation of standard operating procedures for regulating the rehabilitation and de-addiction centres.

It was decided during the deliberation to compile an appropriate standard operating procedures (SOP) to regulate the rehabilitation and de-addiction centres and also subsequently to monitor their functioning.

In his address, Assam DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta stressed on the need for a multi-pronged strategy to tackle the menace of drug abuse and illicit trafficking in the state.

Mahanta requested the social justice department to devise standard guidelines for permitting setting up and running of the de-addiction centres. He further called upon the state education and health departments to include drug abuse awareness in the academic curricula.

Earlier in his welcome address-cum-report, Additional DGP, CID, A.Y.V Krishna, mentioned that in order to tackle the drug menace there has to be a three-pronged strategy – supply reduction, demand reduction and harm reduction.

He said that as a part of intensified drive against drug traffickers, a record number of 3,232 cases have been registered under the NDPS Act and more than 5,400 drug peddlers / traffickers have been arrested, 388 vehicles used for drug trafficking seized, more than 100 kg heroin, 2, 70,000 cough syrup bottles, 39, 42,000 tablets and several other banned narcotic substances have been seized.

The CID Assam, it may be mentioned, has created a mobile phone application, “Drugs Free Assam,” with the help of NIC which can be downloaded through Google Play Store.

“This app has been successfully downloaded by citizens and continuous information is pouring in through this channel, the identity of the informant kept confidential,” an official statement said.

District-wise nodal officers have been detailed to immediately act upon the information received through this app.

The meeting was also addressed by Niraj Verma, principal secretary, home and political department; Avinash P.D Joshi, principal secretary, health and family welfare department, Mukesh Chandra Sahu; principal secretary, social justice and empowerment and others. 

Senior Assam Police officers, officials from the state health department, social justice and empowerment, excise department, education department, home department, Forensic Science Laboratory, Information and Public Relations, doctors, principals besides representatives of various NGOs took part in the discussion.

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