GUWAHATI: A subject on drug abuse will soon be incorporated in the syllabus of schools and colleges in Mizoram.
According to official sources, the syllabus is being fine-tuned for the purpose. The basic aim is to create a mass awareness against the menace of drug abuse. The land-locked state, which shares a border with Myanmar and Bangladesh, has the dubious distinction of being the highest HIV prevalent state in the country.
The state’s Social Welfare Minister, K Beichhua, said the syllabus was being designed by the Social Defence and Rehabilitation Board of the department. It will cover students from primary to under-graduate levels.
“The Education Department has already approved of the syllabus. The state Cabinet will hold a discussion prior to its implementation,” the minister told this newspaper.
Drug abuse is often blamed for the high rate of HIV positive cases in the state. Drugs, particularly heroin and methamphetamine, are often smuggled into Mizoram from Myanmar and then they make their way into various parts of the country.
At 2.04 per cent, Mizoram recorded the highest HIV prevalence rate in the country. It is followed by Manipur (1.43 per cent) and Nagaland (1.15 per cent).
According to latest figures received from Mizoram State AIDS Control Society (MSACS), nine new cases of HIV positive are detected all over the state every day.
Most drug users in the state use pseudoephedrine pills which are otherwise a cure for nasal and lung congestion. The drug barons often smuggle the pills into the Golden Triangle (areas in Myanmar, Laos and Thailand notorious for drug production) where they are processed and turned into methamphetamine (meth) or ‘party drug’. The meth is then redirected into Mizoram.
Till date, the state has recorded 19,631 HIV positive cases with the first being recorded in 1990. An estimated 2,000 people have died of the disease so far. The use of needles and syringes accounts for 28.16 per cent of HIV transmission cases, according to MSACS.