State drug users advocate for need of having drug policy
DIMAPUR, NOVEMBER 1
In the 1st ever celebration of the International Drug Users Day at Kripa Foundation, the Kohima Users, Nagaland Users Network and Kripa Foundation advocated for the need of having a Drug Policy in the state.
Without a drug policy, the problem of drug addiction will continue, stated a press note issued by t eh drug users and urged the Social Welfare Department to take appropriate measures in addressing the policy.
The global event was held at the Kripa Project Office with Ketho Angami, coordinator and Dr Viketoulie as the main speakers.
In his speech, Ketho expressed the significance of the day, focused on “Community, Solidarity, and Empowerment”. “We have learnt that a punitive approach, criminalizing drugs use and dealing addiction as a legal issue does not result in any positive change. That treatment is required and approach are of numerous approach such as Counseling, detox, Rehabilitation, OST while some strategy like Harm reduction also prove to be very crucial to create a healthy impact in to the lives of a Drug User,” he said.
He, however said, in Nagaland and across the globe, there has been a lack of drug user friendly approach which results in defeating the whole purpose of addressing the menace of addiction.
“It further fuels more stigma and discrimination, leads to overdose deaths, crimes, transmission of BBVs. These deprive us of our constitutional rights as a citizen of the country. We are a group of people who use drugs. We as activist will ensure that the history is not repeated,” he added.
“Today we announce that “drug users are also a social being. We need to be treated with equality and dignity, and on this day, the November 1, International Drug Users Day is a day where we want to reclaim that stand. Today, we celebrate the strength and diversity of our community, our solidarity and our empowerment. And we are affirming and celebrating who we are as a community of people who use drugs,” he further voiced.
Dr Viketoulie provided a technical briefing on drug addiction starting from the context of how people get into addiction which is ignorance, poor family up bring and numerous other contributing factors.
Addiction is a social, health and developmental as well as economic problem, he said and narrated how addiction began in the mid 1980s and how the treatment approach gradually evolved and today with a lot of programs, treatments including OST have drastically help Drug Users across the state.
He also called upon the gathering to spread the message of prevention to their younger generation and that we must together work together to further initiation of drug use.
Mr Kevithi, a member of KUN who presently works in Kripa Foundation as an ORW shared his experience as drug user. He shared that he started using drugs in 1991 out of sheer ignorance. He also started injecting which also result in lots of negative consequences in him. Though he wanted to recover, he could not afford rehabilitation.
Finally in 2006, with the introduction of the OST program in Kripa Foundation, he said, he registered himself as a client and started undergoing the OST therapy. He admitted that there were failures during this journey but it did not pulled him down. But he kept trying and today he is happy that he has become more responsible, self dependent and finally expressed his thankfulness to his friends, staff and Kripa Foundation.
The programme was chaired by Khrielakuonuo, while the welcome address was delivered by Jim, KUN and a special song presentation was given by Kripa staff and clients.
The day aims to raise awareness and increase action to address the needs of people who use drugs. Today, activist around the world, mark the day by advocating with stakeholders for action to create an enabling environment for PWID and expand access to a full range of harm reduction services.