Nagaland: Drug abuse a major social concern — Ritse

Martha Ritse addressing the program in Kohima. EM Images

Our Correspondent
Kohima, June 26 (EMN): Commissioner and Secretary, Social Welfare department, Martha Ritse on Sunday said drug abuse has become a major social concern in the world and it has proven to be a principal obstruction in the all-round development at every level; be it in the society, the country or even the world.

She was addressing the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking program held at Capital Convention Centre, Kohima jointly organized by the Social Welfare department, Narcotic Cell (PHQ), Kripa Foundation, Kohima Ao Baptist Church, Central Baptist Church Kohima and Nagaland Users Network .

The official asserted, “It (drug abuse) has become a matter of concern that the number of drug abusers and incidents of illicit trafficking soared during the global pandemic. Researchers have also reported increased instances of tragic deaths due to drug overdose, triggered by many socio-economic factors including mental health issues like depression etc.”

‘The vulnerability of modern society plays a catalytic role in promoting the consumption and abuse of narcotic and psychotropic drugs. The fast-changing social milieu and the introduction of synthetic drugs and intravenous drug use leading to HIV/AIDS has also added a new dimension to the issue’.

She also highlighted that the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 was enacted to contain both the demand and supply of drugs and control illicit trafficking of drugs, and empowers the government to establish centers for the prevention and treatment of drug addiction.

Ritse also observed that Nagaland’s geographical location puts the state in a vulnerable position with its access to all sorts of illegal drugs trafficked through porous domestic and international borders.

She pointed out that there is Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyan campaign of the department, under which three districts — Kohima, Dimapur and Mon — are covered and various awareness programs have been carried out through the initiatives of the district administration with the help of stakeholders.

Further, she informed that the department is pursuing with the ministry to set up more rehabilitation and de-addiction centers to expand the need-based intervention strategies in other districts. However, she asserted that the ultimate and long term goal should be to minimize the number of such centers by minimizing the number of drug users in the state.

Martha Ritse, Tosheli Zhimomi, Bendang, Arep Tsudir, Meme Metha and others at Capital Convention Center Kohima. EM Images

Nagaland Drug Policy ready for final approval

Earlier, delivering the keynote address, Tosheli Zhimomi, Director of Social Welfare informed that the draft of Nagaland Drug Policy launched in 2016, has been re-amended and is ready for final approval. Once it is done it will be made official, she said. She also pointed out the need to advocate and protect the rights of the most vulnerable including children and youth, people using drugs, people with drug use disorders and people who need access to controlled medicines.

She expounded on the role of the community to support, to prevent trade, rehabilitation and acceptance and in helping to break stigma for faster recovery.

dr Joyce Angami, Medical Officer, Kripa Foundation, also called for collective efforts in a humanitarian crisis and stressed on the need for preventive measures.

Seizures worth INR 117 crore made in a year

SP Narcotic Cell (PHQ), Bendang informed about the supply reduction scenario in Nagaland and highlighted that since June 2021 till date, and the seizures made by the law enforcing agencies from various districts: Heroine – 8,940 kg; Brown Sugar – 16,750 kg; opium – 86,980 kg; Ganja- 2903 kg; Yapa tablets – 1,35,107 tablets; Meta Vitamin- 5.8 kg; synthetic drugs – 1,78,369; imported cigar- 57, 812 packed; Cough syrup- around 2363.

He maintained that despite seizures worth INR 117 crore made in a year, there was an illicit global market and consumer grade was high. He added that some routes cannot be mended for checks, especially on the international border shared with Noklak and Mon districts.

‘These routes are most probably footpaths and can’t be tracked,’ he added, and said the border with Assam has become a route for synthetic drugs through unmended entry and exit points.

He also asserted that to reduce drug inflow, a strong mechanism needs to be developed between law enforcing agencies and all stakeholders.

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