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Anti-drug measures

28 Jun. 2017 12:08 AM IST

Drug use and addicts in Nagaland is a serious issue that needs immediate attention since the rise in drug addiction and also corresponding rise in STD and HIV is a critical situation. According to various reports, Nagaland has a very high number of Injecting Drug Users(IDU). As per some reports, fifty percent of drug users are IDU and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS transmission. At the programme on International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Kohima, it was reported that between April 2016- March 2017 a total of 560 people were held for smuggling liquor and banned drugs. During the same period 9711 kg of ganja, 63.75 kg of opium, 12 grams of heroin, 4.5 kg of brown sugar, 1 kg of Yaba, 5,27,626 spasmo proxyvon capsules, 12,297 bottles of cough syrup and 2,02,919 bottles of India Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) were seized. Under the state’s Targeted Intervention(TI) projects some 16,441 registered IDU were given Care, Support and Treatment (CST) and from 31 TI Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST)Centres, some 4007 ISU were registered and 614 completed treatment. Under TI-ICTC some 22,519 IDU were tested and 22 were HIV positive and given ART. There were 54,179 IDUs who attended a programme of which 67 were treated, said the report. Drug addiction is a serious problem in the state and its ramification has not been highlighted as it should have been both by the media and the authorities. Nagaland, especially Dimapur, is a transit point for most contraband items though Khatkhati in nearby Karbi Anglong remains as the main sale and distribution centre. One need to only see the present situation in Punjab, the most prosperous of India’s states to realise how drugs have destroyed a generation. Punjab has a highly productive farm land and fed by fertile soil by five rivers to make it the bread basket of India. However, with rise in unemployment and different lifestyle, drug addiction in Punjab has brought woes to thousands especially the youth. It is estimated that four out of ten men are addicted to some or other drug and that up to 50% of those are young farmers. While 15% of those are addicted to poppy husk (known as bhukki), 20% are addicted to synthetic drugs churned out by pharma companies in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh. There is also the fact that pharmaceuticals such as pain relieving opioids and sedatives are easily available from chemists; without prescriptions. Drugs such as heroin is also easily available from across the international border with Pakistan. The problem of drug smuggling and use will not disappear so easily as the demand has not diminished. Tightening anti-drug laws is no longer an option. Drug abuse and trafficking have spread worldwide and enforcement has not been able to keep pace with the level of sophistication of traffickers. International drug agencies are confronted with various problems at the micro level due to corruption at the lower levels. In sharp contrast, countries like Singapore or some middle east countries, are virtually free from problems of drug abuse because they strictly enforce stiff laws against use, sale of possession of banned drugs.

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