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Bhubaneswar, July 12: Enforcement activities to prevent drug abuse do more harm than good. According to Atul Ambedkar, additional professor, national drug dependence treatment centre and department of psychiatry, AIIMS, New Delhi, although officials are successful in destroying rackets through such activities, no agency anywhere in the world has successfully eliminated drug rackets. “The best solution to drug trafficking is to destroy or reduce demand,” Atul said.
Atul was a resource person at a national-level seminar on ‘Exploring Challenges on Controlling Substance Abuse in Orissa’ jointly organised by National Institute of Social Work and Social Sciences (NISWASS) and Centre for Modernising Government Initiatives (CMGI) Tuesday.
Experts at the seminar called for coordinated efforts by different departments to handle the issue.
Niten Chandra, the principal secretary of the department of social security and empowerment of persons with disabilities, said the issue was still unresolved owing to poor coordination among departments.
“At present, we do not have adequate data to understand the extent of drug abuse across categories. This seminar is an effort by the department to collect expert opinion and suggestions for stakeholders and officials to reach a consensus in handling the issue successfully,” Chandra said.
Officials also highlighted the fact that drug abuse and stimulant use were becoming popular among school and college students. “We are planning various awareness camps in schools and colleges to remedy this,” Chandra said.
Experts at the seminar pointed out that there were hardcore drug addicts who are unable to quit drug use about whom statistics are unavailable.
“Drug addicts are not able to quit immediately. Withdrawal varies from patient to patient. Prolonged addicts are unable to quit drugs. Doctors advice ‘harm reduction’ approach for such patients. We advise such addicts to use sterilised needles to avoid diseases such as AIDS,” Atul said.
Enforcement officials, too, bat for reducing demand as the key to destroying drug rackets. Vigilance director RP Sharma, one of the resource persons at the seminar, said: “Although enforcement officials cracked several drug supply rackets, another source would come up with a supply chain as long as there is demand for drugs. Therefore, reducing demand for drugs is the most practical option.”