The Vice President, 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 theInternational Day Against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking, in New Delhi, 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, 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.