‘Substance abuse penetrating rural areas in Nagaland’
Kohima, June 26 (EMN): As part of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, a panel discussion was held virtually in Nagaland on Saturday with experts from different fields sharing experiences and way forward to address the issue.
Assistant director of Social Welfare department, Wango Langsym, said that use of drugs was rampant in the state and had penetrated every nook and corner including rural areas.
Of late, people from poorer sections of society are also into addiction, he said.
He stated that he had come across people in one of the remotest villages in Nagaland using substances, and on enquiry learned that it had penetrated through the porous borders from neighbouring states.
As far as the department is concerned, its role is to facilitate and address primary prevention and demand reduction. At the state government level, committee of concerns (COC) headed by chief secretary has been formed to co-ordinate and implement Nagaland Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Policy 2016.
‘Having realised that the policy needed to be amended, the department had written to the government for approval and accordingly administrative approval was granted to the Social Welfare department. Based on that, the department has drafted and added a few more points to the policy, which is under consultation,’ he informed.
The department envisages involving churches and communities where it can start community detoxification. It is contemplating rehabilitation centres for women and boys (juveniles) in particular.
However, to implement these intervention programmes, it needs accurate data, which he said is absent and urged NGOs to do the research.
Joint director (TI) Nagaland State AIDS Control Society (NSACS), Dr. Bernice informed that through the National Aids Control programme, they were able to provide services to about 19000 people in the state.
‘Last few years, NSACS faced the challenge of talking to people (injecting drug users) to come for Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) service. This was partly because of fear of identification or stigma. But, last year with Covid restriction, demand for OST was overwhelming,’ she said, adding that they registered a little more than 2000 drug users (injecting).
‘These are the evidence that people really need help,’ she said and appealed everyone not to stigmatise the problem of drug abuse or try to hide the issue under the carpet.
‘We need to accept the fact and share the fact and act upon it if we are to save lives,’ she added.
Speaking on the day’s theme ‘Share drug facts to save lives’, Principal of Loyala Higher Sec. School, Kiphire, Fr. Rev. Joe Mariadhas said, ‘it aims to combat misinformation and encourage the exchange of drug facts.’ He expounded on youth and the role of educational institutions in combating substance use and abuse.
Some of the factors that contribute to the emergence of substance abuse in the adolescent population are multifactorial, he observed. These included behavioural, emotional, and environmental factors that lead young adolescents at risk for the development of substance abuse. Underage drinking and drug use is recognised as a leading public health and social problem for adolescents.
Fr. Mariadhas said that factors that may place a teen at risk included too little parental supervision and monitoring, lack of communication and interaction between parents and children, poorly defined and poorly communicated family or home rules and expectations about drug use, family conflict and parental permissiveness toward adolescent alcohol and drug use, and parental alcoholism or drug use.
Chairman of Kripa Foundation, Dr. P Ngully said that substance use disorder has brought mental health issues into limelight.
‘Those who abuse drugs tend to relapse even after knowing the harmful effects substances can do to their body. This is because most of them have a deep seeded pain, which they do not realise themselves,’ he said explaining his newfound study while dealing with clients (drug users).
He said that opioid enters the brain through endorphins and the same part of the brain registers physical and psychological pain among drug users. While physical pain can be treated, it is difficult to heal the psychological pain because it can remain in the system for a very long time.
One of major causes of the psychological pain, he said, was ostracism or not being accepted by others at some point of their life. He went on to explain that drug users possess the art of ‘emotional blackmailing and blame game.’
‘But if they are made to understand and make aware that these traits are harmful for them, it could be the road to recovery. One has to understand that there is treatment available and recovery happens for them,’ he added.
Senior pastor of Lotha Baptist Church, Dimapur, Yanbemo said that the church should be a place of ‘healing and sinners’.
‘In today’s world, churches are mostly confined to believers,’ he said and called upon the churches in the state to come together and try to help each other and address the issue because ‘drugs are a big challenge for all’.
According to the Nagaland Police, the main drug trafficking routes are:
* Manipur to Khuzama – Kohima – Dimapur
* Tadubi (Manipur) – Peren – Jalukie – Dimapur
* Myanmar to Noklak – Tuensang – Mokokchung – Assam
* New Field checkpost/ Dillai gate – Dimapur
* Tsutapela check post (Marani Assam) – Mokokchung
* Wameken check post (Amguri Assam) – Mokokchung
* Tizit and Naganimora (Mon)
Drug seized during June 2020 to May 2021 as per SP (Narcotic)
|Names of drugs/substances||June to Dec. 2020||Jan. to May 2021|
|Ganja||484 kg, 795 gm||211 kg, 158 gm|
|Opium||3 gm, 250 mg||3942 kg, 800 gm|
|Brown sugar||105 gm, 500 mg||2 kg, 85 gm|
|Heroine||428 gm, 500 mg||853 gm, 11 mg|
|Yaba||0||367 tablets (April 2021)|
|Spasmo proxyvon||6050 capsules||1823 capsules|
|Nitrozepam tablet||70 tablets||0|
|Alprozolam||175 tablets||9 tablets|
|Cough syrup||453 bottles||400 bottles|