The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has sanctioned 28 new de-addiction centres in Punjab to curb the menaces of drug abuse. Looking at the gravity of the problem in the state, the Ministry has also conducted a survey on the extent, pattern and trend of drug abuse the report is expected soon. This was informed by Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlot, Union Minister of Social justice & Empowerment here today while addressing the function of International day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking here today. Shri Gehlot said stated that Punjab is one of the drug affected states and needs special attention.
Shri Gehlot emphasised the need of preventive education. He said that by stopping drug u se before it starts, incidence of addiction can be prevented and stronger communities across our country can be created. The Ministry has started focusing on early prevention and are promoting a balanced approach that advances evidence-based interventions. For preventive education and awareness generation programmes, the Ministry collaborates with Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan and the National Service Scheme (NSS) etc. He informed that a Regional Workshop was organized by the Ministry in collaboration with NSS at Shillong from 15th to 17th June for spreading awareness about prevention of drug abuse. The Ministry is also planning to conduct such Regional Workshops in other parts of the country as well for awareness generation amongst youths.
He also informed that the Ministry is in the process of finalizing a National Policy on Drug Demand Reduction. This would enable them in creating awareness on the harm related to drug use and the need for preventive measures to be disseminated in a consistent manner with special emphasis on needs and care of children/adolescents, women and young girls who require special attention.
International day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking was observed by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The function for this purpose organised by the Ministry was attended by Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlot, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Vijay Sampla, Minister of State for Ministry of Social Justice, Shri Krishan Pal Gurjar, Minister of State for Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. Smt. Anita Agnihotri, Secretary, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, Ms Cristina Albertin, Representative of UNODC and senior officers from the Central Ministries were also present.
The General Assembly of the United Nations, by a resolution on 7th December 1987, had decided to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.
The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is the nodal Ministry for drug demand reduction efforts. The Ministry recognizes Drug abuse as a psycho-socio-medical problem, which can be best handled by adoption of a family / community –based approach by active involvement of Non Governmental Organisations/ Community Based Organisations. The Ministry follows a pronged strategy for demand reduction:
i. Awareness building and educating people about ill effects of drug abuse as we believe that the prevention is better than cure;
ii. Community based intervention for motivational counselling, identification, treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts; and
iii. Training of volunteers/ service providers and other stakeholders view a view to build up a committed and skilled cadre for service providers in this field.
The Ministry has been implementing a Central Sector Scheme for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drug) Abuse since 1985-86. Financial assistance is provided under the scheme for running the Integrated Rehabilitation Centres for Addicts or IRCAs which are basically de-addiction and treatment centres for identification, counselling, treatment and rehabilitation of victims of alcoholism and drug abuse through partnership with the State Governments and Non Governmental Organizations. Financial assistance to about 300 de-addiction in the country is provided every year under this Scheme.
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