Make youngsters aware of the dangers of drug abuse through special campaigns: Vice President

New Delhi: The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for launching special campaigns to target vulnerable groups like school-college students and make them aware of the deleterious effects of drug abuse. He also wanted special attention to be paid towards youngsters from lower socio-economic strata as they were highly vulnerable and prone to various high-risk behaviours.

Speaking at an event organized by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on the International Day Against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking, here today, Shri Naidu expressed concern over the worrisome trend of substance abuse and said it was estimated that globally around 275 million people (in the age group of 15- 64) used drugs at least once during 2016. Quoting WHO, he said roughly 4, 50,000 people died as a result of drug use in 2015.

Observing that those addicted to substance abuse also have to grapple with major health problems such as physical and mental disorders, illnesses, injuries, premature loss of lives and years of lives with disabilities, he opined that it would not only cast a financial burden on the family, but would also become a drain on the public exchequer and pose a major challenge to the health system.

Referring to the challenge posed by drug abuse, he said the efforts of the Governmental agencies alone would not suffice and called up on the civil society, NGOs and dedicated individuals to supplement the efforts of the government in eradicating the menace.

Observing that addiction should only be treated as an illness, Shri Naidu said that those who have turned towards substance abuse must to be counseled, rehabilitated and treated with care and affection.

“Parents and teachers should be counseled that isolation and stigmatization would only enlarge the problem and not in any way help the person addicted to substance abuse to overcome it,” he added.

The Vice President asked NGOs engaged in rehabilitation of those addicted to substance abuse to treat them humanely and enable them to become productive members of the society.

Opining that rehabilitation was crucial to wean away youngsters from addiction and make them productive by bringing them into the mainstream of the society, the Vice President urged the corporate sector to earmark funds for such activities under CSR.

The Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, the Ministers of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Ramdas Athawale, Shri Krishan Pal Gurjar & Shri Rattan Lal Kataria and the Secretary, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, Ms. Nilam Sawhney and several other dignitaries were present at the event.