Chief Secretary, Prabodh Saxena presided over a workshop on Drug Demand Reduction under the aegis of Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyan organized by the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment here today. He said that the State government has adopted a zero tolerance policy against social evils like smuggling of psychotropic substances, drugs etc. and ensured strict action against the producers and suppliers of drugs with the aim of bridging the network from the point of origin of the drugs to the point of destination.

The toll free drug prevention helpline number 1908 was in place, the main objective of which was to encourage the general public to share information about drug traffickers and to provide counseling to drug addicts and their parents regarding de-addiction. The identity of the informers was being kept secret, said the Chief Secretary.

The substance abuse is adversely affecting especially the youth across gender and majorly responsible for psycho-social-medical problems. He said that a strategy has been adopted to curb the menace of substance abuse in the State through preventive education, awareness generation, identification, counseling, treatment and rehabilitation, development of human resource for capacity building and reducing stigmatization and discrimination. All stakeholders must work in unison and share responsibilities accordingly, he added.

Additional Session Judge and Special Judge NDPS Delhi, Arul Varma stressed on a strong and effective strategy to curb the drug menace in the State. To reach out to those affected and also step-up prevention, this requires special attention in increasing community participation and public cooperation in reduction of demand for dependence-producing substances. These programmes include community-based peer-led intervention for early drug use prevention among adolescents and youth and outreach and drop in Centres.

The second step was to develop an increased sense of responsibility among parents and teachers to ensure primary prevention or early detection. School children who become addicted to drugs tend to lag in academics and even drop out of educational institutions. They must know where to get help from, he said.

The major work needs to be done at treatment and rehabilitation level to set up standard procedures and good practices. Also needed is a linkage of such Rehabilitation Centres with skill development. Those under treatment should be taught skills for early rehabilitation. This step is therapeutic as well as cost effective to check relapse.

As a crime prevention measure, substance addicts need to be tracked to arrest them and send them to organizations for treatment and if they were found selling drugs, they would be sent to prison for treatment. For prevention and welfare it is the need of the hour to work closely with the community for support services as drug prevention cannot be achieved without the support of the community.

Additional Director General of Police, Satwant Atwal said that many innovative practices had been started by state police to check drug smugglers which had provided positive results so far. She said that there was a need for a comprehensive strategy for dealing with the menace of drug abuse. The first step to deal with substance abuse is to cut off the supply chain. All law enforcement agencies, dealing with narcotics enforcement are hitting at drug traffickers to weaken supply lines, she added.

Secretary Social Justice and Empowerment, M. Sudha Devi said that the survey shows that different substances were being used by the drug addicts. She also highlighted various measures being taken by the department for prevention of such substance abuse. Director Empowerment of SC’s, OBC’s, Minorities and the Specially Abled, Pradeep Kumar Thakur gave a detailed presentation. The representatives of various government departments and NGOs participated in the workshop.

Prabodh Saxena Leads Workshop On Drug Demand Reduction

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