A one day training of Master Volunteers under Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyan was held at DRDA Hall in Tura today organised by the District Social Welfare Office, Tura in collaboration with the Medical Department, Police department and DLSA, West Garo Hills, Tura.
Speaking on the occasion, Deputy Commissioner, Ram Singh stated that this is an aimbitious programme of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment which aims to curb the menace of drug addiction in the society. He said that drugs and other intoxicants pose a serious problem in a person’s life and career with dangerous consequences which affect the families as well as the society.
He therefore, said that it is the responsibility of everyone to create awareness about the ill-effects of substance abuse by discouraging its use and urged everyone especially the youth to stay away from these things.
Dr. Bollen Sangma, Psychiatrist, Tura Civil Hospital explained in detail about substance abuse and types, its management and prevention. Dwelling on the subject he said that drug abuse is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences which is becoming one of the biggest social problems threatening individuals, families and the community at large.
On the adolescent drug use, he said that it impacts directly on the academic achievement which is the one of the reasons for high school dropout rate and it also initiates early sexual initiation which again is one of the reasons for the rise in teenage pregnancies, he added.
Mentioning about the different types of substance abuse such as alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, opiods, inhalants, etc he said that “over the counter medicines” or buying medicines without the prescription of a Medical Officer is also considered a type of substance abuse since the tolerance level of each person varies and needs expert advice to take medication or it may be fatal, he added.
Meanwhile, the Psychosocial Aspects of Substance Use or Abused was delivered by Narbecca Momin, Clinical Psychologist, District Mental Health Programme, West Garo Hills where she states the common causes as to why usually people take drugs because of death of a loved one, break up in relationship, mental or physical illness, financial problems, school/career or social pressure and trauma or abuse resulting in both short and long term effect on person’s life.
Earlier in the introductory speech, the District Social Welfare Officer, Hemaritha Sangma informed that the Nasha Mukt Committee was launched on August 15, 2020 in West Garo Hills district and the committee has formulated plans to conduct awareness generation programmes in the district with the support of the medical and police department for identifying victims and users who would then be referred to rehabilitation centres or hospitals for counselling and treatment as per the direction of the Government of India.
Mentioning that among the 272 most affected districts in the Country, the districts of East Khasi Hills, West Jaintia Hills, West Garo Hills and South Garo Hills have been identified as the most vulnerable in terms of substance or drug abuse and therefore, the three-pronged attack combining effort of Narcotics Bureau, Outreach or Awareness by Social Justice and Treatment through Health department will be implemented in these districts, she informed. Therefore, as per the Action Plan, these Master Trainers would be reaching out to the people in the block and village level and sensitized the people to reduce drug addiction in the district, she said.
Further, she mentioned that the Ministry had conducted the first National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in India through the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) of the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), New Delhi during 2018. As per the report, Alcohol is the most common psychoactive substance used by Indians followed by Cannabis and Opiods, she added.
Training programme will also be conducted on Wednesday for the Government departments, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), Faith Based Organisations, Development Committees in the district in order to increase community participation and public cooperation for drug demand reduction.