With rising incidents of drug abuse reported across Assam, the state government has decided to constitute a task force to deal with this growing menace. The government has geared up its administration and asked the authorities to constitute a task force headed by additional chief secretary (home) to address the issue of drug abuse. “Various departments concerned like home, education, health and family welfare and social welfare are to be incorporated in the task force aimed at beating the menace of drugs,” the chief minister stressed in a statement made in Guwahati recently.

While government’s role in the curbing this menace is pivotal, active role of NGOs are a must to help sustain the government’s initiatives. The Ajmal Foundation, one of the front ranking NGOs of the state, became part of this outreach as it has decided to launch a state wide mass awareness campaign about the issue so that the upcoming generations of the youth can be saved from this impending danger.

At a press event organised on Thursday at the Guwahati Press Club, to announce the launch of this awareness campaign, Khasrul Islam, manager, Ajmal Foundation, said, “We are deeply concerned about the growing drug menace in Assam. The rising trend of drug abuse among youth, more particularly in the student community, is alarming.”

Eminent personalities from different strata of the society shared their experience in the field and professional expertise to help the organisers draw a blueprint for addressing the issue in an effective manner. Dr Minoti Barthakur, ‘Positive Health Hero’ Award winner and motivation speaker, said that drug addiction compels a person to indulge in anti social and illegal acts that ruin a family.

Senior counsellor at Kripa Foundation Dipankar Baruah also shared his experience and said that at one time he was himself a drug addict and has gone through all the travails and turmoil of the experience. He said, “Addiction is a disease and not habit. The treatment lies in counselling and providing an atmosphere that helps the addict to come out of the trap and indulge once again in healthy living.”

Senior medical officer at Wintrobe Hospital Dr Juri Talukdar was emphatic in requesting working parents to earmark a fixed time for their children. She said, it is only from depravity and loss of parental love that a large number of children are attracted towards drugs.

Consultant psychiatrist at Guwahati Medical College Pradip Thakuria also spoke on the occasion. He was of the opinion that a person may take to drugs for reasons beyond his control. Therefore it is important not to stigmatise an addict and make life more difficult for him.

General secretary of Guwahati Press Club Nava Thakuria said, “The media persons are not only reporters, they are also soldiers. You will find them by your side in the war against drug abouse.”

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