Nagaland Officials Sound Alarm On Surging Drug Use In State - Eastern Mirror
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Nagaland officials sound alarm on surging drug use in state

By Menuse-O Max Khieya Updated: Jun 27, 2023 1:15 am
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Youngsters taking pledge against drug abuse during the occasion of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Kohima on Monday. (EM Images)

KOHIMA — Nagaland Chief Secretary J Alam on Monday sounded alarm over the surge in drug use in the state despite dealing with the menace for years.

‘The time for planning has passed but now we are in a time that calls for action individually as well as collectively. We need to eradicate drug abuse as a public movement,’ he said while urging the people to pledge collectively to make Nagaland a drug-free state.

He was speaking on the occasion of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking organised by Social Welfare department, Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC), and NNagaDAO SLCA, Kripa Foundation Nagaland, in Kohima.

Terming the high prevalence of drug abuse in the state as a serious issue, the chief secretary told the officials to introspect in terms of efforts, collaboration and sensitization put in to curb the menace. He also asked them to reflect if they have taken everyone on board in the fight against drug abuse.

Nagaland is not a drug producer but has become a transit point for banned substances from Myanmar to the rest of the country and is also major consumption centre, lamented Alam.

Maintaining that there could be small drug peddlers and kingpins in every town or locality, he underscored the need to set a precedent by confronting anti-social elements and taking exemplary action.

He also stressed on the importance of differentiating a peddler (criminal) from a user (victim) and helping the latter overcome drug addiction.

However, stigma associated with drug users is not helping curb the menace as addicts, including their families try to hide the fact in order to avoid disgrace, he said, while urging the public to do away with stigmatisation.

He also called upon various government agencies, NGOs, religious organisations and churches to collectively create awareness towards taking preventive action against drug abuse. 

Director General of Police (DGP) Nagaland, Rupin Sharma appealed to all citizens and civil societies to help the police in combating drugs problem by informing them about drug users and peddlers.

However, he cautioned not to take law into their own hands, saying that the police have enough time to tackle any crime in the state.

Anganwadi workers seen during the occasion of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Kohima on Monday. (EM Images)

The police chief went on to inform that Nagaland Police will soon launch a mobile application to enable the public to provide information regarding the sale and consumption of drugs.

Menace ignored for too long

Speaking at the event, Rev. Dr. Zelhou Keyho, General Secretary of NBCC, said that drug menace has not been taken seriously for too long and that there has been a shift in understanding drug abuse and addiction as a disease.

He stressed on the need to strengthen institutions, family, village, community, schools and colleges, churches and individuals in order to move towards a drug-free country and state.

Churches should not be seen as a pulpit ministry, people should take the church to the streets, work places and their homes, he said while pointing out that ‘when individuals become weak, society will become weak; church, community, will become weak’. 

Also speaking during the programme, Abou Mere, President of NNagaDAO and Director Kripa Foundation Nagaland, appealed to the state government to increase focus on substance prevention treatment by implementing the “Nagaland State Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Policy 2006” having full compliance with the human rights standards and norms, and provide budget for implantation of the policy.  

Secretary of Social Welfare, Martha R Ritse said that there are 6,24,000 substance users in Nagaland, including 1,11,000 children and 26,000 female, citing National Level Survey Report which was published in 2019.

She also informed that the government of India had launched Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan in 2020 in 272 most vulnerable districts across the country, including Kohima, Dimapur, Mon, Phek, Tuensang and Mokokchung with an aim to create awareness on the ill-effects of substance abuse.

The programme concluded with the gathering taking a pledge to make India drug-free country.

Also read: Rally-cum-walkathon marks International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Dimapur

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By Menuse-O Max Khieya Updated: Jun 27, 2023 1:15:37 am
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