Meghalaya Drug Users’ Forum president Neil Jaitly Khongwir has said that drug abuse is rising in the state, which is matter of concern, while he stressed that the society should be sensitive towards drug addicts.
“At the rate that it’s going, the future looks bleak. Generations to come will suffer a lot,” he told The Meghalayan on Saturday.
As per a report compiled by the forum before the lockdown, he said that approximately 20,000 from various age groups and across gender were abusing drugs in the state.
“Out of them 3000-odd are registered with various target interventions because they are those who inject. Number of drug users are out there who abuse pills like yaba etc besides ganja,” he said adding no treatment is available for them.
On the other hand, Khongwir said that the shnong can also actively participate in helping drug addicts lead a new life.
He was speaking in the context of a video, which had gone viral recently, showing an alleged drug addict being thrashed by people.
“Most of these types of videos are done by shnong or local people only who belong to the area. Trying to shame a drug user is of no use. It only makes them more hardened,” he said.
He added that the boys, who are publicly thrashed hail from poor families and hence no FIR is filed even as he expressed concern that they keep quiet and accept it.
Criticising Meghalaya Human Rights Commission for being a mute spectator, he said that thrashing people is a breach of their universal human rights and the right to dignity.
He lambasted the state government for not implementing the drug policy and said, “The drug policy is for show.”
With many shnongs affected by the alarming drug abuse, Khongwir said, “Addiction is a disease. It can’t be cured, but only treated.”
He questioned as to why the shnongs do not pressure government for free treatment centres and the shnong can also go a long way to aid those to come out of addiction instead of targeting them.