SHILLONG: Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot today assured the Meghalaya government of financial support to set up a drug treatment centre for women drugs addicts.
"There is no dearth of funds. Once you send the proposal on the treatment centre, we will take all necessary steps to ensure its establishment," Gehlot said while responding to a plea made by the state Social Welfare minister Deborah Marak during the inauguration of the first Regional Workshop on Prevention of Substance Abuse in the Northeast region held here.
According to Marak, there was an urgent need for setting up of a treatment centre in view of the increasing number of women drug addicts in the state.
Stating that there was no quality study on women drug addicts so far in the state, Marak said "There is an urgent need to provide drug treatment centres for women and setting up of corresponding support system for women drug addicts."
Highlighting on the steps taken by the state government on the issue, she said financial assistance to the NGOs working in the field of drug abuse was being provided to raise awareness and sensitisation on drug abuse and also specific intervention programmes for high risk groups in high risk areas.
"Drop-in centres have been set up in Jowai and Khliehriat in the Jaintia Hills, a district identified as having high incidents of drug abuse," Marak said informing that detoxification camps in Garo, Jaintia and East Khasi Hills have been organised for specific target groups.
The State Social Welfare Minister further said a study on the problem of alcoholism in the state was under process, besides drafting of the Meghalaya State Policy on drug abuse.
"The study is being undertaken by the Indian Council for Social Science Research, which will be completed this year," she said.
Apart from this, a scheme on prevention on alcoholism and substance drug abuse under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment was being implemented and grants were released to
NGOs, she said.
Gehlot said across India the number of drug abusers was on the rise, specially in North East and western parts.
Asked about the exact number of drug abusers in India, he said there was difficulty in getting an exact number of drug abusers in the country and the ministry was coordinating with
NGOS to get the figures.
"It is difficult to conduct a survey because those who abuse drugs don't come forward. In 2015-16 we will renew our efforts to get some figures," he said.
The Union Minister said 12 NGOs were designated to assist the Government in helping fight drug abuse and out of them three were from the North East working in Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram.