Soon, govt agency to tackle drug abuse among children

We don’t have enforcement power. So for that we will take help of police. Enforcement can check the menace. Because of addiction, crime is on the rise and we are losing a young generation.
RAJENDRA PAL GAUTAM, Delhi social welfare minister and Seemapuri MLA

NEWDELHI:The Delhi government has proposed setting up of a separate agency to tackle the menace of drug abuse, especially among children, in the national Capital.

Hindustan Times had on June 26 reported about a study on drug abuse patterns among children residing in east Delhi’s Seemapuri. The study revealed that at least 80% of them were addicts.

Social Welfare minister Rajendra Pal Gautam, who is also the MLA from Seemapuri, said a separate body to tackle drug abuse will ensure awareness, treatment and enforcement.

“We don’t have enforcement power. So for that we will take help of police. Enforcement can check the menace. Because of addiction, crime is on the rise and we are losing a young generation. An action plan is being prepared and we will have zero tolerance on this,” Gautam said.

Sources said that a cabinet note has been prepared and the name of the autonomous body would be Delhi State Substance Abuse Control and Rehabilitation Society (DSSACRS).

“We need to work at all levels, including prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. Right now there are negligible activities and there has been no study or reliable data on the drug users in the capital,” said a government official.

The study in Seemapuri underlined some of the common factors that often led to addiction —peer pressure, family history, involvement in jobs like rag picking and segregation and easy accessibility.

The study also points out that children as young as seven and eight years old in Seemapuri were taking drugs. Most of the parents knew that their children were consuming drugs.

But they were either helpless or unperturbed by the problem. The residents of the neighbourhood were found to be mostly addicted to ganja (marijuana), smack (heroin), beer or tobacco.

“Most of the children take drugs because it is easily available. Police know the drug suppliers, but don’t control them. Better enforcement can solve the problem. The Central government should direct the police to launch a crackdown,” Gautam added.

The study conducted by Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM) also suggested association between drug use and increased likelihood of engaging in crime was commonly fuelled by the environment that the children inhabit.

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