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Criminalisation of drug users not a solution: MUF


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Shillong, June 15: The Meghalaya Users’ Forum (MUF) on Saturday said that criminalisation of drug users is not a solution.

Talking to a section of reporters, MUF general secretary, Barry Leslie Kharmalki said that it is wrong if the approach to fight against drugs is to declare an open war against drug addicts.

“Drugs addiction is a complex issue and it is not easy to deal with it,” Kharmalki said.

He said that many of the parents have expressed their disappointment since their children who are into drug addiction have been defamed.

According to him, they have assured the parents that they will appeal to the media not to look at drug addiction in a negative way.

“Addiction is not always about negativity. I have witnessed that there is some positive energy from among the drug addicts who have reformed,” MUF general secretary said.

He also questioned if the aggressive drive against the drug users in the Polo area has yielded any positive results.

Pointing out that youths can be seen taking drugs in the same place in Polo area, he said that aggressive approach or declaring war against drug users is only a short term solution.

According to him, the long-term solution to put an end to drugs is to treat drug addicts with love and not brute force as the latter would only harden them instead of healing them.

“We have seen how society hates drug addiction. But I would like to clarify that drug addiction is a disease and not a crime,” Kharmalki said.

Meanwhile, he also expressed concern about the mushrooming of rehabilitation centres even since the announcement of the DREAM project by the government.

According to him, they are concerned since there are no proper guidelines to set up a rehabilitation centre.

“We are not sure whether the treatment and counseling which has been provided in the newly set up rehabilitation centre is going to help,” he said while questioning the decision to send the youth who are into drug addiction to a rehabilitation centre outside the State.

Stating that huge money is involved in drug racket, he said that the fact is that huge money is required to take drugs and at the same time you require money since treatment of drugs is very expensive.

“We urge upon the government to speed up the process to set up rehabilitation centres for free,” MUF general secretary said.

He said that they have witnessed many of the youth who have come out of rehabilitation centres are again into drugs since there is a lack of counseling and support from the society.

Kharmalki suggested that there is a need to have a plan on how to reintegrate the youth who are into drug addiction into the mainstream once they come out from the rehabilitation centre.



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