TODAY -

At least 110 homeless FIDUs at North AOC: NGO
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, November 28 2019: With many Female Injecting Drug Users (FIDUs) rendered homeless and deprived of access to public health facilities in the State, it has become a serious issue whether the aspects of rehabilitation and public health accessibility for addicts have been left out from the State Government's scheme of combating drug menace.

NGOs working in the field of drugs and human rights defenders are now sending a distress call for rehabilitation of drugs addicts particularly females and also ensure that public health facilities are accessible to them.

According to information gathered from Nirvana Foundation, there are at least 110 homeless Female Injecting Drug Users (FIDUs) at North AOC.

Dev Lakshmi who works as the Project Manager of Targeted Intervention Project, Nirvana Foundation, North AOC informed that 80 percent of the FIDUs staying at North AOC are also sex workers.

"These FIDUs have their own tragic stories of how they started taking drugs and were compelled to indulge in prostitution in search of means for survival.

The society needs to understand the tragic stories and circumstances behind their woeful living and help them in returning to the mainstream society instead of discriminating them", she said.

She further told that incidents of leaving innocents girls and married women, specially widows at North AOC by their male lovers or partners at the last moment after having sexual relationship for months or years on the pretext of elopement or staying together as couples are quite common.

The abandoned women would then start indulging in prostitution and taking drugs in search of means for survival and ventilating their pangs as they are also rejected by their families, and near and dear ones for going against their wishes and social norms.

Dev Lakshmi maintained that these female drug addicts are also being deprived of their basic rights to access welfare schemes and very often they are victims of human rights violation.

With law enforcing agencies and womenfolk frequently arresting them and harassing them for being prostitutes and drug addicts, these FIDUs have been suffering both sexual abuse and extreme poverty, she lamented.

Meanwhile, Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE) president Rajkumar Nalinikanta pointed out that the location of the State along the transit route for smuggling drugs between western countries and Asian countries is an important factor for pushing a large number of people into the jaws of drugs.

"Therefore, drug addicts are also the victims of the State's location and prolonged failure of the successive Governments to check the ever increasing volume and incidence of smuggling drug along the routes passing through the State.

One cannot always blame drug addicts for their addiction and leave them as they are," he rued.

He also expressed worry on the poor existence/implementation of harm reduction programmes in the State adding that many drug addicts are being exposed to high risks of life threatening diseases like HIV and HCV.

Saying that the incidents of arresting drug addicts for carrying/possessing syringes by law enforcing agencies frequently happen in the State, he said that this hamper harm reduction programme in the State.

The CoNE president observed that there is an urgent need for law enforcing agencies to have a thorough understanding on harm reduction strategies being adopted in the country and throughout the world besides including topics related to drug issues in the school syllabus of the State.

Manipur State Commission for Women Chairperson Dr Meinam Binota has also expressed keen desire for incorporating a provision for rehabilitating drug addicts and mainstreaming them in the overall scheme for addressing the menace of drugs in the State.

She also expressed her desire for opening shelter homes and drug treatment centres for women in the State.


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