More Development, Less Addiction – Arunachal’s journey towards a drug-free future
Drug menace is a big problem and it feeds on the future prospects of the nation. If someone gets addicted once, the person eventually hits rock bottom and it then becomes very hard to pull back up again in revival. According to studies, young people are much more vulnerable to drug abuse because of many reasons like peer group pressure, the thrill of experimenting with new things, etc. For a long time, Arunachal Pradesh has been fighting the problem of drug addiction among its youths. Despite the challenges in overcoming this persistent problem, the state has actively rolled out strong measures to facilitate coping with addiction and bringing new reforms to the future of Arunachal’s youths.
Initiatives from the Government
It has been the earnest endeavour of the state government to eradicate the problem of drug menace from the state and direct the youths towards a healthier future tomorrow. As part of its 50 years celebration this year (2022), the Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh launched the ‘Arunachal Against Substance campaign’, to sensitise the general masses on the problems pertaining to substance and drug abuse at multiple levels.
This campaign envisions providing a helping hand to the families of the afflicted and reaching out to them for their support in any case. It will also help in reaching out to addicted people and motivate them to choose the right path for their future and join rehabilitation centres to fight the addiction. In addition to that, it will help foster a safe and healthy environment for the substance abusers and enable them to start afresh without having to face blames and guilt of the past. It will help build a healthy relationship between the abuser and the family.
Going a step beyond to reinforce the campaign, Arunachal Pradesh Govt. roped in veteran actor Sanjay Dutt as its brand ambassador for the 50 years of celebration, who delivered inspirational messages to the youths of the state on matters related to the drug menace. This was another initiative towards sensitising the people of Arunachal Pradesh on drug abuse. Being a survivor himself, his life journey and his struggles have inspired many who are fighting against this menace. The auspicious event also featured helpline numbers, online counselling and sharing of experiences and testimonials from others on the same along with the launch of a website called aasa.org.in. This website is dedicated to spreading awareness among juveniles about substance abuse and its ill consequences, various laws and customs related to drug trafficking and to create a drug-free and drug-resistant Arunachal Pradesh in the days to come. The website also aids in imparting information on various de-addiction centres for anyone searching for rehabilitation facilities in the state.
Contributions of Non-Government bodies
In the fight against drug addiction, various non-government bodies have also been contributing their best in spreading awareness on the issue in every nook and corners of the state. Many NGOs have taken up the responsibility to sensitise villagers and young people on the ill effects of drug abuse by organising various workshops and awareness programmes in villages, schools, community halls and so on.
The contribution of the Indian Army in aiding the noble cause has been an inspiring one. In this regard, the Changlang battalion of the Assam Rifles has been conducting youth oriented awareness programmes like sports events, marathons, mini races etc. These events are not just meant to attract the youths toward pursuing a brighter future, but also sensitise them on the drug abuse issue that is prevalent in the society. Sport has been a great way of directing the young people away from the menace of drug abuse as it works in the interest of the participants.
Contributions of women
Women organisations such as the WASE (Women Against Social Evils) have been working diligently towards spreading awareness about drug addiction issues among the youths of Arunachal Pradesh. Depicting their strong will, these women groups aren’t shying away from crossing dangerous cliffs and gorging rivers to travel to different villages and help the affected young people in getting de-addicted.
Interestingly, these initiatives aren’t just limited to a few women-led organisations. Rather, the entire womenfolk of Arunachal Pradesh have been raising their voice against addiction issues and ardently supporting the cause to promote a drug-free state.
Recently on March 8, 2022, a mass rally was organised at the Padi Yubbe Outdoor Stadium of Ziro, Lower Subansiri to commemorate International Women’s Day. In the event, women from the region along with the youths joined the rally voicing out slogans pertaining to the issue of drug menace. The event aimed at sensitizing the masses against drug abuse was organised by the AWAZ, APWWS, and ArSLRM.
Towards a drug-free future
The fight is still on and responsible authorities, NGOs, and various communities are joining hands to eradicate the issue of drug addiction from the state completely. Many individuals who are survivors themselves are coming forward to share their experiences and inspire many people, both online and offline.
It is important to note that Arunachal Pradesh is on a steady path to secure a progressive future for its youths through several initiatives and projects being implemented in line with the ongoing development taking place at a national level. This includes the active measures rolled out to fight drug abuse and redirect young minds toward a brighter tomorrow. It might take time, but the efforts never go to waste. Times are changing and the state is already in the process of healing and revival.