Drug Abuse: Govt indicted by Par panel for 'casual approach'

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New Delhi, May 28 (UNI) The Government have no authentic data of the number of alcoholics and drug addicts in the country as no detailed survey has ever been conducted for this purpose, whereas the scheme for prevention of alcoholism and drug abuse has been in existence for quite a number of years.

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has earned very strong words from a Parliamentary panel for the failure.

''It is indicative of the casual approach of the Government in eradicating the menace of alcoholism and substance abuse from the country,'' said the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment in its 33 rd report.

The state-wise and rural-urban distribution of addicted persons is not available.

The lack of data becomes very surprising in view of the fact that the Government have institutionalised Drug Abuse Monitoring System (DAMS) with the broad objective for creating a database in respect of persons abusing drugs, types of drugs used and methods of consuming drugs from the Treatment-cum-Rehabilitation Centre suported by the Ministry.

The Committee asked the Government to utilise the services of DAMS to obtain an authentic and nationwide data at the earliest so that an effective action plan could be chalked out to get rid of the evil.

It also suggested the feasibility of introducing 'Gujarat Pattern of Prohibition' which may be examined to eradicate alcoholism from the country.

The Parliamentary panel has also expressed great concern over non-utilisation of sanctioned funds under the ''Scheme for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drug) Abuse'' during the last three years.

Taking serious note of the Ministry's failure, the panel urged the Government to take pro-active measures to ensure that the NGOs entrusrted with operating the scheme put forward their proposals in time in all respects, as warranted in the guidelines prepared by the Ministry for voluntary organisation desirous to avail central funding.

It asked the Ministry to take the issue with the state governments at the highest level.

UNI NAZ SLD BD1613

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