Gangtok, 26 Jun (IPR): “International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking” was observed at the State capital in Chintan Bhawan today.
Organised by Social Justice, Empowerment & Welfare Department, Government of Sikkim, the celebration had the presence of Hon’ble Minister for Social Justice, Empowerment & Welfare and Health Care, Human Services & Family Welfare Departments, Dr. M.K. Sharma, as chief guest.
Also present on the dais were Chief Secretary, Shri A.K. Shrivastava, ACS-cum-Secretary, HRDD, Shri G.P. Upadhyaya, Principal Secretary, SJEWD, Shri K. Srinivasulu, and Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Health, Shri Vishal Chauhan.
The international level celebration had the participation of stakeholder departments like the HC,HS and FWD, HRDD, Police Department, State Legal Services Authority and various NGOs.
The programme commenced with the presentation of silk scarves and flower bouquets to the guests on the dais and ceremonial lighting of lamps by the chief guest and other dignitaries after which Principal Secretary, SJEWD, Shri Srinivasulu, delivered the welcome address where he thanked the dignitaries for gracing the celebration which further cements the resolve to tackle the menace of drug abuse and trafficking in the State.
Chief guest, Dr. M.K. Sharma, in his address stated that this problem needs to be handled with sensitivity and not treated as a taboo in the society. He took time out to reflect from his past experiences where many a times, drug abuse is treated as a heinous mistake and the abuser is treated with stigma even by their near and dear ones, which causes the situation to become even more grave than it actually is.
Hence, he called for active and non-discriminatory action from the society, friends and families of the victim which will encourage them to seek help and counseling and set sights on the path to recovery. He stated that drug abuse is a vicious cycle and all of us as conscious citizens need to come together to break this cycle.
The Minister acknowledged that one needs to first understand the reasons for an individual to fall prey to this menace and effectively prevent it instead of focusing on various curative measures as this is a completely preventable matter he stressed. He highlighted the importance of family, friends and the society in helping the victim overcome this obstacle as this close circle is the first check point that plays an extremely vital role in preventing an individual from falling into this trap of drug abuse.
He commended the wonderful job that the NGOs are doing in helping rehabilitate and reform victims of drug abuse and trafficking and also acknowledged the sluggish pace of government mechanisms in this respect and resolved to bring in more progressive reforms and actions to completely curb this problem plaguing the State.
Dr. Sharma concluded his address with commitment and utmost positivity stating that with collective and careful efforts, the State shall successfully overcome this problem effectively and remove its existence right from the root.
Chief Secretary, Shri Shrivastava, in his address to the gathering stated that the State is no longer causal about the problem of drug abuse and illicit trafficking and expressed positivity that this problem will be tackled with utmost professionalism. He stressed on the need to raise consciousness and increase awareness on this matter and brought attention to the role of the society in combating this problem.
The CS also spoke on the various laws that are in place nationally and internationally that focus on handling the offence in a holistic manner which provides fir reform and rehabilitation to the victim. He called for strengthening the society to effectively grapple this issue and eliminate it.
The function also saw various presentations being delivered by Head of Departments and representatives of stakeholder government departments and NGOs namely:
- Secretary, SJEWD, Dhan Jyoti Mukhia
- Commissioner cum Secretary, HC,HS & FWD, Vishal Chauhan
- SCERT Coordinator Ranju Pradhan, from HRDD
- Member Secretary , Suraj Chettri, from State Legal Services
- DIG Range, Sonam Tenzing, from Police Department
- KC Nima from Freedom Home and Uday Rai from Serenity Home NGOs.
Earlier, housemates of Freedom Home NGO presented a welcome song which greatly instilled a sense of encouragement and consciousness amongst all present.