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2.5 lakh drug users in state a concern

Shillong, June 26: Director General of Police, LR Bishnoi on Saturday expressed concern that there are around 2.5 lakh drug users including those who depend on injectable drugs and psychotropic substance in Meghalaya.

Addressing the gathering on the occasion of  International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, on Saturday,the DGP informed that the department has come out with a strategic plan by strengthening infrastructure and having coordination among all stakeholders, besides frequent operations by law enforcers and organising multiple awareness programme in schools, colleges, villages and towns and other activities.

He said in the past 15 days, the police  conducted a record 142 drug awareness programmes in schools, colleges and other public places across the state reaching out to over 15061 young people.

Bishnoi said looking at the present drug trafficking scenario in the state, due to the close proximity to the golden triangle, Meghalaya has become a major transit point for drug trafficking and this has put the authorities on a very high alert to tackle the menace.

The theme for this year’s observation is ‘Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crises’,

Bishnoi said drug addicts in India accounts to about 7.3 crore where 1.2 crore are children between the age group of 11-18 years.

Of these,  women constitute 55 lakh.

Mission mode campaign 

In his address, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said like the state has many missions, there should be a mission mode approach to eradicate the menace of drugs.

“We have so many missions, including many in Agriculture department but why don’t we have a mission to eradicate the spread of drugs”, Tynsong said.

He said drug abuse or drug addiction is a psychiatric, social and psychological problem that not only affects the youth but also the society .

Drugs ruin the individuals and the society manifold- socially, physically, culturally, emotionally and economically, he said. Expressing concern on the increasing number of drug users among the children and youth in the state,Tynsong said children can easily succumb to the pressures of their peers and friends to turn to these intoxicants for comfort.

Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui stressed on the need to hold drug awareness programmes in schools and colleges so that children and youth can be aware of the harmful effects of substance abuse. “Only when youth have the strength to say no to drugs, the purpose of this observation is achieved”, he said.

Chief Secretary Rebecca V Suchiang, while highlighting the perils of drug abuse, stressed on the importance to educate young children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse and the need to provide them the emotional support so that they do not develop the need to turn to substance use for comfort. She also appealed to parents, teachers and all sections of society to prioritise support, education and protection of youth against substance abuse and to work together to safeguard their physical and mental health.

Dr. Pakha Tesia, MBBS, MD (Psychiatry) Mind and Wellness Clinic stressed on drug challenges from the health perspective and how to address it while Bryan Wallang, Principal Kiddies Corner HS School, spoke on humanitarian crises due to drug menace.

Other programmes of the day included a skit on drug abuse by Kripa Foundation De-addiction Centre for Juveniles, Mawkasiang and sharing of testimonies by patients of KJPA New Hope De-addiction Centre for Males, Mawdiangdiang and Kripa Foundation De-addiction Centre for Juveniles, Mawkasiang. Audience was also enthralled by songs presented by Neil Umwi & Desmond Rimiki Sun, Meghalaya Police Cultural Troupes and Khaki Vibes.

Principal Secretary, Social Welfare Department, Sampath Kumar and Commission and Secretary Pravin Bakshi also spoke.

Police officers were felicitated by the chief guest on the occasion.

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