Progressing J&K: J&K first to have a comprehensive drug de-addiction policy after Punjab

SRINAGAR, JUNE 17 (KNS): Jammu and Kashmir becomes the first Union Territory in the country, after Punjab state, having a comprehensive drug de-addiction policy envisaged to weed out this atrocious menace from the society.

The urgency to formulate a drug de-addiction policy by Jammu and Kashmir government is due to the location of the UT in the vicinity of “Golden Crescent”, a name given to South Asia’s opium producing countries like Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan which produces 80 percent of the world’s opium and is considered as the prime source of illicit drug trade.

J&K government has intensified its efforts to fight narco-terrorism being unleashed by unscrupulous elements from across neighboring countries. It has come out with a detailed mechanism to supervise and review implementation of Drug De-addiction Policy and has even roped in civil society members in the endeavor so that drug menace is fought effectively.

Giving further details in this regard, an official informed that “UT Level Policy Implementation Monitoring Committee and Jammu and Kashmir Division Level De-addiction Centre Monitoring Committees have been constituted. The UT level committee has been assigned the task of suggesting changes in the Drug De-addiction Policy from time to time besides looking out for financial support for various de-addiction activities in Jammu and Kashmir, he added.

These committees have been assigned the task of inspecting the existing de-addiction facilities in Jammu and Kashmir and grant or cancel licenses after thorough inspection of infrastructure, manpower and standards of care. The committees have also been entrusted with the task of advising various stakeholders from time to time in implementation of Drug De-addiction Policy on ground and look at monitoring of prescription drug abuse and suggest remedial measures to the Drug Controller,” an official said.

The policy also focuses on various key aspects including prevention, rehabilitation and integration, training and sensitization, community participation, generating awareness and upgradation/establishment of drug de-addiction centers.

“It lays out a comprehensive action plan for addressing the drug addiction issue in its entirety. There has been a steep rise in physical, mental and substance-use disorders over the past two decades across the UT. There has been an alarming shift in the pattern of substance use in terms of rise in the number of female users, decreasing age at first-use, increasing use of solvents, injectable-opiates and use of steroids as well as increasing drug related deaths (over- dose and accidents),” the official said.

For effective surveillance and law enforcement, the government has also constituted the Anti-Narcotics Task Force (ANTF) in coordination with the Excise and Agriculture departments to map the expected cultivation areas and take remedial actions in terms of destruction of illegal crops on both private and government lands.

The ANTF has further been asked to formulate an action plan to prevent such cultivation in the next season. The ANTF will also undertake extensive awareness generation drives to inform the public about the associated risks and issues and accordingly plan a calendar of activities.

“The Task Force will institutionalize the mechanism for promoting wide ranged reporting on illegal cultivation, transportation, trade and consumption of drugs and their synthetic derivatives; through NGOs, PRIs and Volunteers,” policy reads.

“It can be said that major improvements in health can only be addressed by broad-based impacts that benefit both high-risk groups and the general public. In this regard, Jammu and Kashmir has taken a lead by addressing this serious societal issue on a large scale,” the  official said.

In the words of Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, his administration is fully committed to strengthen action framework and take a firm stance against drug abuse, besides providing practical solutions like evidence-based prevention, treatment and care to emerge as a winner in achieving the goal of a drug-free society,

In his message on International Day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking, LG called upon the people from all walks of life to supplement government’s efforts towards its fight against the menace of drug abuse.(KNS)

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