International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking - Eastern Mirror
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International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

By Our Correspondent Updated: Jun 26, 2018 10:03 pm

‘Shaping attitude of youths, promotion of healthy lifestyle essential’

Vikho Yhoshü speaking on the occasion of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking at Hotel Japfü in Kohima on June 26.

Kohima, June 26 (EMN): Shaping the attitude of the youths and promotion of a healthy lifestyle is essential, said the Nagaland Legislative Speaker Vikho-o Yhoshü. He observed that young people often talk about the ‘highs’ induced by illicit drugs, but are not aware of the many ‘lows’ that poses harm and threats to their lives.

With most of the drug users being in the productive age of 18-35 years, Yhoshü expressed concern on the loss in term of human potentials as ‘immeasurable’. Hence, he stressed that efforts should be made to improve the knowledge of the young people about the harmful effects of drugs by providing adequate education to them.

Yhoshü was speaking on the occasion of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, at Hotel Japfü in Kohima on Tuesday June 26, observed on the theme “Listen first.”

The programme was jointly organised by Nagaland Police, Social Welfare department, Nagaland State AIDS Control Society (NSACS), Kripa Foundation and Nagaland Users Network (NUN).

The speaker reminded that drug abuse continues to be an issue that plague societies in different ways and that people have to be vigilant with regard to its impact and harms they cause to persons, families and friends and to societies at large.

Admitting that he was a recovering alcoholic from Kripa Rehabilitation centre in 1992, Yhoshü maintained that leading a healthy lifestyle requires making choices that are respectful of body and mind. To make healthy choices, he said people particularly the young need guidance from role models and need to get the right facts about drug use.

Also stating that as no single organization in India is in the position to launch and maintain an effective response to address the dual problem of drug use and HIV, he implied on the need to address this issue from all levels from government policy making and decisions down to rural community levels.

In addition to harmonise the services for drug users, he also suggested on the need to consider prevention of transition to injecting drug use, primary health care for drug users, advocacy with the law enforcement, social support and social reintegration of drug users and comprehensive package intervention amongst incarcerated population.

While acknowledging the government’s effort to promote greater understanding of drug use as a social and health condition, Yhoshü was sceptical if enough has been done. He also appealed to nodal departments and NGOs to collectively work and help the state government to tackle substance abuse problem.

Also speaking on the occasion, Inspector General of Police Sonia Singh said drug abuse and smuggling of drugs in the state is on the rise, wherein it has already 250 cases so far.

Stating that drug abuse has nothing to do with ‘wealth or poverty’, Singh said it’s basically the self control and advised the young participants not to indulge in substance abuse, which does not only harm the person taking drug but the whole family.

Asserting that the drug abuse is the most critical challenge facing the state that has weakened the society, Rokozo from NUN said more than ever, a more open and honest dialogue for public awareness and education is required.

He also insisted on the collectively efforts on what can be done about the epidemic facing the greater community that crosses all socio-economic lines of age, race, gender and wealth afflicting people from all walks of life. He also urged the government to implement that Nagaland Drug Policy 2016 in letter and in spirit.

Former drug user shares experience

K Ezung sharing his experience

“I started using drugs when I was very young, when there were full of curiosity and peer pressure. My first encounter with drugs started with what we call gateway drugs that included tobacco, alcohol and later went on to hard drugs” said a former drug user.

Sharing his story as a drug user during the observation of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Kyuchamo Ezung, a recovering drug addict admitted that he never used drug to become an addict. However, he said as time went by he became from bad to worse and life became unmanageable.

“I started doing things I have never imagined – I had gone to the extent of begging, borrowing and stealing to support my drug use” recalled Ezung and soon, he said he had become a junkie and dropped out of school and landed up on the streets.

As his life became worst, he recalled how his family went from pillar to post to help him quit his substance abuse. Ezung told the gathering how he himself tried many methods to quit but it was too late by then and he started experiencing withdrawals and craving and how the vicious cycle to quit and withdrawals continues.

“I started to believe that I will also die like my other friends either through a drug overdose or shot by undergrounds” said Ezung. However, he recalled with gratitude as a ray of hope came through some recovering friends who introduced him to a drug rehabilitation centre.

“In the rehab I was taught that I was neither a bad person nor a mad person but I was just sick, which can be treated provided I was willing to go to any extent for my recovery. In my six months rehabilitation course, I was trained to cop situation the way they are, work on my character defects and accept life as it is without drugs and alcohol” Ezung said.

After rehabilitation, Ezung said with the support of his family and well wishers he started his life from a scratch. Later, he went on for a residential counsellor training course and started his studies again and went on to complete his Bachelor in Social Work. He also completed his master degree in Social Work and Public Administration.

Today, Ezung who is sober and free of drugs for the last 17 years is currently working as a technical specialist for Northeast Technical Support Unit / National AIDS Control Organisation providing technical support to the state of Nagaland and Manipur in implementing HIV programme.

Putting forward some suggestions through his experience, Ezung stressed on the importance for parents to give time and listen to their children as he observed that ‘parents try and give whatever their children demands, but are not able to give their time.’ This, he said may have a negative consequences in future. He urged parents to understand that spending quality time with children makes a lot of difference in their life, especially when they are young.

He also requested the law enforcing agency to view drug addiction not only as a crime but as a ‘public health issue’ and coordinate with NGOs working in demand reduction and harm reduction and provide treatment options.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Jun 26, 2018 10:03:06 pm