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NGOs seeks implementation of Substance Abuse Prevention & Treatment Policy in State

Nagaland Governor P B Acharya (File Photo)

Kohima, June 26: Marking the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, NGOs working in the field of drug addiction and alcoholism Wednesday sought the intervention of Nagaland Governor in implementation of the Nagaland State ‘Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Policy’.
The appeal was made during the main observation of the day jointly organized by NGOs working in the field – Kripa Foundation, Nagaland Users Network along with Government departments like Social Welfare, Social Justice and Empowerment, Narcotic Cell Police Department and NSACS at Capital Convention Centre here on the theme ‘Health for Justice and Justice for Health’.
Secretary of N-Naga Dao, Ketho Angami on behalf of the NGOs while placing the appeal before the Governor, who was the special guest on the occasion, said the Nagaland State Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Policy approved by the State Cabinet and was formally launched by the then Minister for Social Welfare and Parliamentary Affairs, Late Kiyaneile Peseyie in June 26, 2016.
However, he lamented that till date no budgetary allocation has been provided to implement the policy, and therefore none of the strategies and objectives indicated in the policy have materialized.
The NGOs expressed deep concern at the rampant increase in substance use and abuse in the State. They said the problem is further compounded by the high prevalence rate of HIV and Viral Hepatitis among he injecting drug users’ in Nagaland.
The abject neglect by the State Government, they said, to implement the drug policy, with lack of accountability, reflects the State’s failure to respond to the obligations of Article 21 “Right to life and liberty” as enshrined in the Constitution of India.
Stating that the issue needs the urgent attention of the Governor, they strongly appealed him to intervene with all the influence under his command as the Constitutional head of the State.
These will in turn prevent substance use, provide scientific evidence for those who require treatment and social re-integration, enabling them to lead a sober life and prevent unnecessary loss of human life from effects of drugs and alcohol, they said.
In his address, Governor PC Acharya said Nagaland is in a danger zone of drug user and the two aspects of prevention is better than cure and how to work about for the affected people should be the concern for all stake holders including family, friends, educational institutions and religious bodies as well as the Government.
Acharya added that educational institutes should wake up to the call of the problem because just giving academic knowledge is not the end of the goal but they have to outreach and strengthen the society.
Principal Secretary, School Education and SCERT, Menukhol John said drug abuse and other related issues are very personal matters and must be approached in a very humane way. Such event is very important and is a reminder for all to relight the candle and to carry it forward in terms of what to do tomorrow, he said.
Director, Kripa Foundation, Abou Mere said that drug users live in denial and never seeks treatment. He said way back in 1990 the NMA and Kripa Foundation came together and broke down the denial and reduced stigma and discrimination in Nagaland.
Nagaland Users Network, Nukshinaro, who shared her life story as a drug user and how she overcome it, said she got into drugs when she was in Class 11 and hooked into it for more than 4-5 years and it was not easy for her as a drug user because she was a women, lots of double stigma and discrimination was attached to it during her time and through the intervention of her parents and friends she was able to get out of it and continue to pursue her career though it was late.
Basing on the theme “Health for Justices, Justice for Health”, she pointed that women are denied justices for treatment, and if treatment are denied to women because they are drug user than it is not justice. The irony is that the kind of treatment women get is different from the treatment the male gets in terms of access to treatment or support, she added.
She appealed to the decision makers to make more option available for women intervention, like addressing the issues in women drug users, counseling on violence, sexual reproductive health issues, besides the issues of HIV, Hepatitis C because if the issues are not addressed than to reach a target of 90:90 set by the UN by 2030 will not be achieved. (Page News Service)