It is important to strictly reinforce innovative policies to access the current trend of drug supply and demand in the State of Manipur with active participation of all the stakeholders, including communities and CSOs and thereby creating an enabling environment for a joint response towards tackling the menace, stated SDC 3.5 Collective’s release.
A two-day ‘Second Multi-Stakeholder Consultation on the Drug Menace in Manipur’ organized by SDC 3.5 Collective on Monday deliberated on ‘significant increase’ in peddling, production, consumption in Manipur despite the ‘war on drugs’ initiated by chief minister N Biren Singh. The consultative meet’s first meeting was held at the Sangai Hall, Hotel Imphal Classic, North AOC, Imphal. The two-day programme will continue till June 21.
Since November 2018, ‘War on Drugs’ initiated by the Chief Minister of Manipur, N. Biren Singh has become a popular campaign against illicit drug production, manufacturing, trafficking and distribution. As a part of the policy, widespread destruction of poppy cultivation, seizing and disposal of narcotic drugs are executed continually. However, during the last decade, poppy cultivation has spread like wildfire covering at least 60 square kilometers in the mountains of Manipur such that it has become the most lucrative business, said a press statement issued by the organiser.
Civil society groups have been relentlessly fighting the menace of drugs in Manipur for years. User community, women and youth anti-intoxicant groups and students’ union came together to align their actions with SDG 3.5 and formed a coalition under the name and style of the 3.5 Collective. The objective of the Collective is to make Manipur drug free by the year 2030. To this end, the Collective have been vigorously sensitizing the grassroots communities, conducting multi-stakeholder consultations, conducting policy engagements with the authorities and filing strategic litigation in the High Court and the Supreme Court of India on the issue of justice and accountability.
The inaugural function was chaired by Thokchom Ramani, President, All Manipur Women’s Social Reformation and Development Samaj as Guest of Honor, Mr. P. Doungel (IPS), Director General of Police, Manipur as Chief Guest and Professor Amar Yumnam, Former VC Manipur University & Chairperson, Organizing Committee presided over as President. The inaugural function was followed by three panel discussions on the topics- “Strengthening Prevention”, “Arrest, Investigation & Prosecution of NDPS cases” and “Strengthening Treatment”. The sessions were participated by experts and speakers from diverse backgrounds.
According to the release, some of the key issues highlighted by the resource persons were-
*the need to debunk myths and stereotypes surrounding drug users
*changes in perspective to break the stigma against drug users required
*updating mode of treatment and handling of drug users by treatment centres, civil societies or pressure groups through proper guidelines and trainings
*effective relapse coping mechanisms
*dedication from all stakeholders and work together for a common goal
*requirement of equal funding and schemes on both supply and demand reduction as well as adequate human resource for harm reduction
*the need for established checkpoints
*monitoring of precursor and prescriptive drugs with special attention to pharmaceutical companies
*effective evaluation of areas under poppy cultivation and stiff rules to curb further plantation
*the need to understand the context and implement localized preventive measures, etc.
In addition to the important issues raised, the speakers and panelists also stated the various policies and programs adopted at governmental level, through law enforcing agencies, by CSOs, in health sectors, treatment centres, in educational institutions, the importance of community participation, roles of family and society and the necessity for co-operation by all the stakeholders in such policies.
In the midst of the ‘War on Drug’ campaign, there is still significant increase in drug peddling, production and consumption, said the press released. A strategic and comprehensive evaluation of government policies and programs and civil bodies is highly called for in order to deter drug abuse. ‘War on Drug 2.0’ is claimed to be “a massive success” by the Chief Minister himself. However, it is important to strictly reinforce innovative policies to access the current trend of drug supply and demand in the State of Manipur with active participation of all the stakeholders, including communities and CSOs and thereby creating an enabling environment for a joint response towards tackling the menace, stated SDC 3.5 Collective’s release.