Odisha govt plans campaign to curb drug menace in state

Odisha ranks 3rd in ganja and charas use, among top 10 in alcohol
For representational purposes
For representational purposes

BHUBANESWAR: Alarmed by rise in drug abuse cases and frequent seizure of narcotics and contraband from different parts of Odisha, the state government has planned an extensive campaign to counter the menace involving educational institutions, PRI members, civil society organisations, youth icons and celebrities.

Odisha ranks third in terms of ganja or charas use. The state is also among the top three that house the highest number of people with opioid and cannabis use problem and among top 10 with people needing help for alcohol and sedative-related issues. It has been decided to develop a training module for campaign on drug de-addiction and rope in organisations like Bramhakumaris, Ramakrishna Mission and Art of Living to initiate a drive in educational institutions to de-motivate youth on substance use. Plans are afoot for inclusion of topics like importance of drug abuse issues in the school curriculum.

The Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD) department in collaboration with Excise department and Narcotics Control Bureau, will chalk out strategies to reducing drug demand and addiction. As per the plan, a state monitoring cell will be set up for planning and coordination of the drug de-addiction activities in the state. Since there is a need for sensitisation of the parents of drug-addicts, the district committees have been tasked to enlist volunteers, including retired government officers interested in drug de-addiction and parents for mass awareness.

Apart from involving various clubs including Rotary and Lions for spreading awareness on substance abuse, districts will also collaborate with non-government and other civil organisations for taking up campaign activities. A national short film festival on the theme ‘drug menace’ has been proposed on the lines of a similar event on road safety being organised by the government.

Principal secretary of SSEPD department Bishnupada Sethi said several measures have been planned to reduce drug demand and addiction in the state. Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyan committee has been constituted to monitor the campaign activities involving renowned sports persons, leaders, youth icons and other famous personalities, he said.

Meanwhile, the NMBA committee has been mandated to visit educational institutions and hospitals to assess implementation of campaign activities, ensure ban on sale of cigarettes within 100 metre of any educational institution and obtain information on the availability/sale of drugs and review the action taken on such information.

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