‘Church needs to entirely get involve in tackling drugs issue’
Personnel of 31 Assam Rifles, Mokokchung along with students walking in procession through Mokokchung town against drug abuse on June 26. The procession was organized by the 31 Assam Rifles, Mokokchung where Assam Rifles personnel along with 60 students took part by holding placards and giving strong message to the people to stop drug abuse in the society. (DIPR Photo)
‘When it comes to preventing drug abuse and tackling drug trafficking, community-centred approaches are the most effective’Dimapur, June 26 (MExN): The International Day against Drugs Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking was observed today, June 26 at Excise conference hall in Dimapur, where most of the speakers opined that church needs to entirely get involve in tackling the issue. The president of N Naga DAO WC Humtsoe said that “Church is a sleeping giant” and needs to wake up from its slumber. Humtsoe before joining the NGO was with the Excise Department as Inspector.
He said: “...drug use and drug trafficking are not only health threats to our little confined society, but also a contributing factors that threaten global stability and socio-economic development across the world.” He said the most successful approaches in drug use prevention involve the critical role of families, schools and communities to build up protective factors to ensure safe and healthy childhood and adolescent years and to provide viable and legitimate livelihoods for adults. Also, the most sustainable and successful treatment and care options are those which are tailored to local needs and mainstreamed into local healthcare systems and services. “When it comes to preventing drug abuse and tackling drug trafficking, community-centred approaches are the most effective.”
He stressed that people should work together to create a healthier and safer society that is not plagued by drug-related crime and violence. An individual can work towards it by education the masses about drugs and its ill-effects, involve educational institutions, media, faith communities, health professionals to raise awareness on this issue, support or sponsor meetings on this issue and work with local media to spread the awareness.
Humtsoe also spoke about the different trends of drugs used in Nagaland - use of Heroin (No.4): chasing and intravenous use, pharmaceutical drug like Spasmo Proxyvon (SP), Relipen, Nitro, cough syrup are commonly abused, SP capsules are diluted and injected, use of brown sugar are on rise and other designer drugs.
In a bid to prevent drug abuse, the state government and various communities applied various strategies, such as – criminalising drug abuse, imprisonment, arrest of youth in possession of needles, syringes and drugs, excommunication from the society and the church, death penalty order by insurgents, parading, caging, locking of ears, shaving of head, blanket ban on needles and syringes, drug de-addiction and rehabilitation, conducting detox camp and awareness camps. However, at present the government and the NGOs have renewed their strategies to combat the problem by focussing more on advocacy programmes on reduction of drug abuse, community detox camps, seminars, drug de-addiction centres etc, he said.
Also, he pointed out the reasons why drug users relapse to old habits – proximity to the Golden triangle, interstate drug trafficking route (NH39), resource constraints, high unemployment rate, high migrant population, conflict zone and psycho-social instability of youth.
The Commissioner of Excise Maongwati Aier also encouraged the gathering to spread awareness about drug abuse instead of blaming one another. He said an appeal has been forwarded to School Education Department to include in the high school curriculum about ill-effects of drug abuse and drug trafficking. He also said Nagaland has the highest number of cases related to drugs and highest seizures of illicit drugs in northeast India. The Nagaland State Excise enforcement staffs have been working tirelessly to apprehend the culprits with the motto: “A Fight to the finish”, though it has limited manpower and field facilities.
“Naga society needs to be aware of the grievances and problems caused due to illicit drug abuse and as such requires to mobilize support or its control. Government law enforcing agencies, NGOs, civil societies and all concerned citizen should support one another to find out a solution to this menace of drug abuse,” the commissioner asserted.
Concerning penalty for a drug pedlar or trafficker, he said there are loopholes in India law, which needs to be addressed, stating that when an accused is caught for the first time, the penalty is not stringent. He said accused should be prosecuted straight away by awarding 10 years to 20 years imprisonment. Also, there is a provision where trafficker on conviction can also appeal in the higher court for “their selfish interest”.
DIG range, Dimapur K Elias Lotha, IPS also spoke on drug addiction and what needs to be done to prevent the social evil. He said Senapati district in Manipur is the main source of ‘Ganja’ (marijuana) and that the plantations need to be destroyed. He said traffickers do not care about who dies because of drug or alcohol abuse. He called upon everyone to fight against the problem especially the church.
Representatives from different NGOs spoke about their experiences and the hardship they go through while executing their works. Some said most of the drug addicts who join rehabilitation centres leave without concluding the programmes, which make them easier to relapse to illicit drug use. Another one pointed out that parents do not care about their children – some parents never visit their son nor pay the fees to the management of the rehab. Also, church needs to actively involve by encouraging the addicts to give up the bad habit and start a new beginning. Earlier, two former drug abusers shared their experiences and how they are coping with the new life, adding that one cannot give up drugs without God’s help.
To commemorate the day, an essay and painting competition was conducted. In essay competition Tatum Siga of Prodigals’ Home received the first prize, Watitemjen of Prodigals’ Home received the second prize and Thujoseto of prodigals’ Home and Sentiyanger Imsong of Shalom Rehabilitation Centre received the third prize respectively. In painting competition – Asha Bhawan received the first prize, Watitemjen of Prodigals’ Home stood second and Lanu of Prodigals’ Home received third.
Detection of Drugs Offences by the Excise Department from January 2007 to June 2012Sl. No No of offences Persons arrested Seizures Street value (approximately)
Ganja 37 39 23040 Kgs @rs 2500 per kg Rs. 6 crores
Brown Sugar 4 4 674 grams @ 600 per gram Rs 4,44,000
Other drugs 320 320 117905 capsules @ Rs 20 per capsule/tablet.
2200 bottles of cough syrup @Rs 120 per bottle. Rs 33,58,100
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