Though the policy is not 100% research based, it was not drafted with just mere imagination. The state policy was based on the data of the Magnitude of Substance Use in India, 2019, Ngangom Uttam Singh said at One-Day Workshop on Substance Use and Welfare Schemes held at the City Convention Centre.
Director (Social Welfare), government of Manipur Ngangom Uttam Singh on Friday said that though the Manipur State Policy on Psychoactive Substances, 2019 was not 100% research based, it was not drafted with just mere imagination. The policy was based on the data of the Magnitude of Substance Use in India, 2019 by the Ministry of Social Justice Empowerment and National Health Survey conducted by the Health Department, he added.
Uttam was delivering a lecture on the topic “Drug Policy and Public Participation” at the One-Day Workshop on Substance Use and Welfare Schemes held at the City Convention Centre, Imphal, organised by the Department of Social Welfare, government of Manipur.
Stating that there has not been any separate research or survey conducted at the state level, he said that the State Level Academy of Research and Training (SLAT) on Psychoactive Substances mentioned in the policy would be helpful in this regard.
Maintaining that policy cannot be above any Act, Uttam said that the state drug policy is meant for strict implementation of the existing laws. He also informed that the state cabinet has recently resolved to impose a fine of minimum Rs 1 lakh and minimum 2 years of imprisonment for anyone caught with drugs. Since the ND&PS Act is a Union law, the Union government has to approve the resolution, he added.
Professor Dr RK Lenin of RIMS who spoke on the topic “Substance Use and Youth” informed that children as young as eight years old are now using substances. Stating that adolescent period is one of the most fragile and vulnerable phases of life, he urged the parents to be very careful with them.
Dr Lenin further stated that any law will remain a “paper tiger” if not implemented properly. Stating that the relapse rate is almost 80% for addicts, he called for focus on reduction of availability of drugs because “prevention is better than cure”.
Maintaining that person in the range of 15 -24 years of age should be focused upon, he said: “Catch them as young as possible”. He also informed that the prevalence of substance use in the state has reached an alarming 23% of the population.
Dr A Jayanta Kumar Singh also delved on the topic “Role of Youths and Local Clubs”.
More than 300 participants representing CSOs, clubs and organisations working in the drugs related field from different districts, both hills and valley, attended the workshop.
The interaction between the participants and resource persons saw the participants expressing apprehension that if the policy is not implemented honestly it will remain a “paper-tiger”. They also expressed that policy alone cannot make Manipur drug free, and urged the government to work honestly.