On International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, let us take a look at how northeastern states are fighting against drug abuse, and the various initiative undertaken in the region:
War on Drugs
Northeastern states, being close to the Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia, are known for rampant drug trafficking. To beat this, a “War on Drugs” was declared in 2018. And this war is still going, with the help of various local associations and NGOs, state machinery have been implementing strategies into different areas of the region.
On Feb 13 this year, about 143 NGOs pledged their support in the destruction of rampant poppy cultivation, particularly in the hill district. Also, security forces and civil societies have jointly destroyed poppy crops spread approximately 50 acres in Manipur’s Churachandpur district.
The chief minister also announced ₹10 lakh for the destruction of the poppy crops.
Women battling against Drug Abuse
Last year, some women from Pasighat in Arunachal came together to form ‘Women Against Social Evils’. Women are extending their activism to other social problems such as protecting the environment from afforestation, cleaning local streams of garbage and relief effort during the pandemic.
In September 2020, the directorate of social welfare released the Meghalaya Drug Abuse Prevention Policy, 2020 and launched the State Nasha Mukt Bharat Campaign.
The event was attended by state social welfare minister Kyrmen Shylla along with commissioner secretary Sampath Kumar. To assess the magnitude of the problem of substance use in the country the Ministry of Social Justice has done a comprehensive National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use.
It is based on this survey that this campaign will be implemented in 272 districts that are identified as most vulnerable in terms of substance and alcohol abuse. The campaign was started last year on August 14 and ended recently on March 31, 2021.
Sensitisation is the solution
Under the association of the department of social welfare, the Access to Rights and Knowledge (ARK) Foundation, the DAPCU, Kahir Foundation, a workshop was conducted on 16 April, in Kiphir distinct, to sensitize people on extent substance use, addressing the drug abuse, reduction and treatment. The workshop was aimed to give a special focus on supplier reduction, demand reduction and harm reduction. These organisations have been working on various areas of states campaigning and providing information about the supply of drugs as well.
Drug users also deserve dignity
Sikkim Drug Users’ Forum is a community-led action for the health and rights of the people who use drugs who have been constantly working on sensitization of drug abuse victims. They believe that the practice of criminalising is draconian and can not reap a solution to impeding the growth of drug abuse in the state.
In a Facebook post, they updated about their recent initiative to protect drug user kept in overcrowded prisons from Covid.
Such campaigns focus on awareness generation, higher educational institutions, universities campuses, schools, reaching out to communities, counselling and treatment facilities in hospitals and rehabilitation centres and capacity building for service providers.
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