Itanagar, April 9 (IANS): In a first of its kind initiative by a northeastern state, Arunachal Pradesh launched the online Drug Abuse Prevention Certificate Course on Friday, in a bid to eradicate the abuse of narcotics.
The 4-month online course would include modules on understanding drug abuse, types and harmful effects of drugs, signs and symptoms, myths and facts, counseling and intervention, managing alcohol, cannabis, opioid use and related disorders, behavior change, communication and family role, workplace prevention, law enforcement.
The course was developed by the Department of Social Justice, Empowerment and Tribal Affairs (SJETA) in collaboration with the National Institute of Social Defense, New Delhi, as part of the National Action Plan for Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment Drug Demand Reduction.
The online certificate course would be coordinated by the Arunachal Pradesh Psychoactive Substances Control Authority (APPSCA).
Launch of the course Chief Minister Pema Khandu said that to start with, all employees of the ‘A’ and ‘B’ groups of the state government should take the course as a requirement.
The objective is to make these groups of employees ambassadors for the creation of change in society by being made aware of and equipped for the prevention and management of drug addiction.
Calling the initiative a strong push in the government’s fight against drug addiction, Khandu said alcoholism and drug addiction are a major concern for the state as the threat alarmingly engulfs young people in its vicious grip.
“Most of us only hear about drug abuse and its effect on people’s lives. We have barely seen the effects as families facing the threat suffer in isolation,” did he declare.
Khandu, accompanied by SJETA Minister Alo Libang, said it was only after watching Arunachalee’s film ‘I Killed My Son’ recently that he realized the fatality of the drug abuse on families and individuals experiencing violence.
“It broke my heart to realize how dangerous the threat is and how families are suffering in silence,” he said.
The Chief Minister called on all to take the online course voluntarily and join the fight against drug addiction, as government alone cannot win the battle no matter how hard they try.
At the initiative of Khandu, the Arunachal Pradesh Psychoactive Substances Policy 2021 has already been adopted by the state government to eradicate the threat from the society.
The chief minister said the state government had approved funds to establish six rehabilitation centers across the state and ordered relevant agencies to begin work immediately.
He suggested that these centers should be fully equipped for this purpose and also have provisions for vocational training and skills development for inmates.
Since these centers will take some time to become functional, Khandu suggested that in the meantime, reputable NGOs working on addiction and rehabilitation outside the state could be brought together through a memorandum of understanding. agreement so that drug addicts can be immediately sent for treatment. He asked the chief secretary to work on it urgently.
“There are many drug addicts from poor families, and many have been disowned by family members. These groups of drug addicts must first be identified and immediately sent for rehabilitation,” he said.
A certificate will be awarded to those who successfully complete the course.
Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar and other senior officials were also present at the launching ceremony of the online certificate course.