Draft state substance use policy released

IMPHAL, 10th Jul: The draft ‘Manipur State Policy on Substance Use, 2019’ has been released and state’s social welfare department issued official gazette notification for the same Wednesday.
One significant mention in the draft policy is inclusion of a chapter in the curriculum of students of the state.
The said policy was drafted by a Drafting Committee constituted by social welfare department comprising different stakeholders like civil society and students’ organisations, law enforcement agencies, NGOs, line departments with deliberation and discussion.
Meanwhile, the department invited suggestions and objections to the draft policy, if any, from individuals and association with the directive that the suggestions should be submitted to principal secretary (social welfare) by August 8.
The policy envisages making Manipur free from substance use disorders by adopting multi-pronged strategies that include Drug Demand Reduction, Drug Supply Reduction and Harm Reduction.
The policy will give special emphasis on keeping youth and children far from drugs under Demand Reduction strategy and youth and children would be provided information on ill effects of substance abuse to health, society and personal development. For this, existing information centres would be improved/enhanced while boys and girls trained on life skill development would be fully utilised to spread the information.
The policy eyes inclusion of one chapter each in curricula of Council of Higher Secondary Education Manipur, Board of Secondary Education Manipur and SCERT so that the youth of the state get fully acquainted with ill effects of drug use. The policy also aims to distribute pamphlets, organise media campaign, Shumang Leela and short plays on ill effects of drug use during summer and winter youth festivals. It also aims to open one counselling unit each at government or private educational institutes for those affected by drug/substance use.
Under Supply Reduction strategy, the policy emphasises on stopping illicit crop cultivation like poppy under the existing laws. It also aims to block all the routes of narcotics and psychotropic substances in the state apart from enhancing checking to prevent transportation of chemicals used in drug manufacturing. State Technical Committee will take necessary steps to enhance infrastructure and manpower to arrest and punish drug smugglers.
The policy also aims to open a fast track court at Cheirap court complex so that cases related to ND & PS dispose early and state government would take steps to increase fast tract courts. To ease problems faced by law enforcement agencies in arresting drug user, peddlers or trafficker, the policy aims to increase detention centres or security hospitals. Regarding resource mobilisation, the draft policy says that Manipur State Substance Use Control Authority (MASSUCA) is the apex body and it would hold responsibility for raising fund for implementation of various activities. A separate bank account for MASSUCA would be opened and state social welfare department will earmark 5 percent of the budget for mobilisation. MASSUCA would earmark the allocation for prevention, intervention, after care, IEC, research and training. MASSUCA will also have full right to review and amend Manipur State Policy on Substance Use, 2019 apart from introducing innovative programmes.

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