Drug abuse in state increasing like flash flood: Dr Rajo
Drug Economy in Manipur Rs 40,000 crore, State's total budget Rs 36,000 crore: Babloo Loitongbam

Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, June 26 2022: The 'International day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking-2022' was observed across the state on Sunday, under the theme 'Addressing drug challenges in health and humanitarian crises'.

National Mental Health Program, National Health Mission and Directorate of Health Services jointly observed the day at IMA Hall, Lamphelpat here.

Speaking as chief guest of the observance, Health director Dr K Rajo expressed that the present drug issue in the state is of high concern, as any continuation of the same could threaten the survival of the state.

Thus, the observance is being held to spread awareness amongst the masses regarding the negative effects of drugs.

Dr Rajo said that drug abuse is increasing like a flash flood and it needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.

Amidst such a scene, the government's War on Drugs mission is appreciable.

The director then cited a report, which stated that around 22.4 per cent of the people in Manipur consume alcohol and around 4 per cent are in dependence.

Around 3.74 per cent use cannabis (ganja), 14.52 per cent use opiod, 7.73 per cent sedatives, 40-50 percent tobacco and 20-25 percent smoke cigarettes.

The above substances are consumed by most people regardless of gender or age.

For women, these substances are the major cause of fertility issues.

It is a big question how productive can a drug-fuelled society would be, he remarked, and called for concerted efforts to prevent the society's demise.

Dr Rajo continued: "Recently, the state Health Department helped opened a 30-bedded Psychiatry ward at JNIMS.

RIMS is also treating mental health and drug users, while steps have been taken up under the National Tobacco Control programme of NHM to control the use of tobacco.

"Additionally, the Health department has made another proposal to the NEC for setting up a mental hospital at Salam at an estimated cost of Rs 48 crore.

The government alone cannot put an end to the drug menace but requires the support and coordination of the people, " he asserted.

Presided over by Medical Directorate Manpower Development additional director Dr K Sasheekumar Mangang, the observance was also attended by RIMS Psychiatry Department head Prof RK Lenin as guest of honour.

On the other hand, Coalition Against Drugs and Alcohol (CADA) observed the Day at MDU Hall, Yaiskul Police Lane.

In his speech as chief guest, HRA executive director Babloo Loitongbam pointed out that the government data says that around 6000-7000 acres of arable land in the state are being utilised for poppy plantations.

However, sources put the total land use to around 50,000 acres.

An IB report states that the drug economy has now reached Rs 40,000 crore.

Meanwhile, Manipur's total budget is Rs 36,000 crore.

Thus, the funds circulating in the drug economy are far greater than the money used to run the government, he said.

Raising concern that Manipur's situation could only get worsen within the next 10 years if no concrete steps were taken up to tackle the drug issue at hand, Babloo urged for ascertaining whether the existing measures against the drug menace are sincere or not.

He then remarked that if the existing mechanisms were working perfectly, the situation would never have been this bad.

Thus, there is a need for joint review and coordination between the government, civil societies and the general populace to put an end to the drug issue once and for all, he stressed.

The observance was presided over by CADA president, Hi-jam Priyokumar and attended by USER Manipur president Jogesh Maibam as guest of honour.

Various district police under the Police Department collaborated with 2 Manipur Rifles in observing the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on Sunday.

Kakching District Police in association with Anahata Mind Foundation organised a 15km Men's Open Cross-Country Run in connection with the observance, from Wangoi PS to YAS Indoor Stadium, Kakching.

Prior to the run participated by 65 people including police personnel, a unanimous pledge was taken against drug abuse.

Meanwhile, 2nd Bn Manipur Rifles observed the day under the theme of Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crisis' at the Battalion's campus here on Sunday.

Commandant Victoria Yengkhom, Manipur Health Services retired senior psychiatrist Dr Angomcha, Unit doctors Dr Rebika and Dr Gaithailu spoke as resource persons during the observance, which was followed by a free body health evaluation of the officers and personnel by Herbal Life senior member Nandakishore.

The day was also jointly observed by Lamlai PS, PALEM, Lamlai Area Women Volunteers, Apunba Club of Lamlai and others at Lamlai Municipal hall on Sunday.

During the observance, which was attended by Lamlai PS OC Inspector Binod and local leaders, speakers urged for preventing youth from abusing drugs and helping them become capable pillars of society.

Lamsang PS observed the day by organising a rally along with Praja Higher Secondary School from Taothong till Lamsang Bazar on Sunday while Democratic Students' Alliance of Manipur (DESAM) joined the observance by organising a one-day awareness programme on the topic Illicit drug: the dark future of youth' at Herbert School, Changangei.

During the programme, speakers highlighted the need for a specific government policy to help prevent students and youth from abusing drugs.

Hope Ministry in association with Indian Psychiatric Society (Manipur State Branch) also observed the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking at Hope Ministry Rehabilitation Centre on Sunday.

Federal Students' Organisation, Kangleipak (FESOK) observed the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking cum World Drug Day, 2022, at TG English School in Bishnupur Ward no 7 .

As part of the observance, a discussion programme was organised which was attended by TG English School principal Nongmaithem Pholin Singh as chief guest, FESOK HQ president Ningthouja Romesh as president, and CBO Co-ordination & Case Finding Leimapokpam Sarojkumar Singh as guest of honour.

On the other hand, Manipur State Legal Services Authority (MASLSA) observed the Day by organising a sensitisation workshop at ADR Building, Lamphelpat here on Sunday on the topic 'Investigation and Prosecution under ND&PS Act' .

As part of the workshop, resource persons spoke on 'Crucial Aspect of Investigation of Offences under ND&PS Act 1985 with relevant direction of the Honourable Supreme Court' and special emphasis on following rules in seizure of contrabands and proper collection of evidences; and on Prosecution of Offences under ND&PS Act 1985 along with case studies' and detailed explanation of provisions under CrPC and Evidences Act.

The day was also jointly observed by District Legal Services Authority (DLSA), Imphal West and Imphal East with conduct of an essay competition on the topic of Drug Abuse and Its Effect' at Ram Lal Paul Higher Secondary School.

Altogether 150 Class XI and XII students studying in different schools of the two districts took part in the competition.

Meanwhile, in connection with the observance, an awareness campaign was organised jointly by DLSA Chandel, Tengnoupal District Police and Special Unit NALSAs Legal Service to the victims of Drug Abuse and Eradication of Drug Menace, at the Inspection Bungalow of Moreh Police on Sunday.

The campaign was attended by top officers of Tengnoupal District Police, including IO of Moreh PS and officers of 5 AR.

DLSA Chandel, Special Unit Drug Committee Tengnoupal and Tengnoupal District Police also organised a one-day legal awareness cum sensitisation programme in connection with the observance of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking' and Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebration.

Speaking as resource persons, Special Judge NDPS Court Lamphel Lamkhanpau Tonsing pointed out the seriousness of the NDPS Act and stressed that the police and army alone cannot put an end to the drug menace, but need the joint support of all stakeholders concerned.

Manipuri Students' Federation (MSF) observed the 'International day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking' and issued a press release in this regard, urging the people of the state to stop consuming and selling such substances.

The release further urged for taking a unanimous stand against drugs and other intoxicants, while denouncing the government for ignoring setting up of night clubs and hotels in the state.

The youth will stop using drugs if they are properly made aware of the harmful effects, it said, while regretting the government's lackadaisical attitude towards the matter.

Stating that the government's 'War on Drugs 2.0 campaign' will fail if there are no prevention programmes for drug users; the Federation stressed the need for including the drug use prevention programmes in a properly formulated policy programme.

As the government has not done so till date, MSF has been organising awareness programmes, orientations and seminars, the release conveyed, while appealing to the people to extend their support in this matter.

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