International Drug Users’ Day observed in Kohima
Dimapur, Nov. 1 (EMN): Access to Rights and Knowledge (ARK) Foundation and Kripa Foundation jointly celebrated the International Drug Users’ Day on November 1 at the main town office of Kripa Foundation with the participants mostly from the drug users community.
President of NNagaDAO, Abou Mere, who graced the celebration as the guest speaker, stated that the day was started to voice against stigma and discrimination as a result of the war on drugs that led to compulsory detention and drug users were not treated as human beings. He added that the day is celebrated to promote access to healthcare facilities like HIV, TB and Viral Hepatitis.
He stated that drug users were denied of scientific evidence-based treatment resulting in deaths because of overdose, TB, HIV, Viral Hepatitis. He added that the day is observed to advocate rights of the drug users. Rights of a drug users, according to him, included the NDPS act 1985.
He has suggested promoting safer practice and also inform their peers on the rights of a drug users, an update from Gwabinlo, ARK general secretary, stated on Friday.
Also speaking on the occasion, president of ARK Foundation, Ketho Angami, stated that drug use should be seen as a public health approach and not as a criminal law issue.
He said International Drug Users’ Day is observed to celebrate the importance of their voice in the context of routine and endemic rights violations in the state and all over the world. In this regard, he called upon the state and the central government to cease criminalising drug users.
“Drug users just like any other human being needs access to healthcare and other social entitlements. Within our state, we still see the need to provide more treatment facilities and for which the state social welfare department cannot continue to limit itself to funding few rehab centres only, but also needs to pull up their socks to create awareness, set up more rehab centres including a rehab for female drug users and alcoholics and to facilitate other prevention and intervention measures through partnering with NGOs,” he stated.
He also suggested that state government needs to make budgetary allocation to start implementing the “substance abuse prevention and treatment policy 2016.” On the occasion, he asked the health department, NSACS, social welfare department to ensure a renewed focus on evidence-based measures as those outlined in the Nagaland drug policy 2016, NACP and NVHCP.
Mongyie, who shared his life struggle as a drug, said he started using drugs as a recreation without the intention of becoming an addict. After becoming dependent on substances, he started seeking treatment in the form of OST. Narrating that his life has improved drastically with the help of OST, Mongyie said he is living a much better life today.