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Panellists express concern over lack of preventive measures against drug abuse

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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, June 26: On International Day of Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Meghalaya branch of Indian Psychiatric Society (MEGH-IPS) organised a panel discussion at Nazareth Hospital to address the growing concerns of drug abuse and illicit trafficking in the state. Under the theme ‘The Evidence is Clear: Invest in Prevention,’ the programme emphasised the urgent need for preventive measures and greater government involvement.
The panel featured esteemed guests, including Advocate Aidahun Syiem, Principal of the Police Training School in Umran, Gnora Sangma, and psychiatrists Sandi Syiem and Pakha Tesia.
A member of the psychiatric department called for immediate government action and urged the public to raise their voices against this escalating issue. They highlighted that drug abuse poses a significant threat to the youth, necessitating collective efforts to combat this menace.
In his address, Sandi Syiem underscored the importance of drug-related awareness programmes, stating, “Everyone needs to understand their role in the development of this pandemic.” He pointed out that many community representatives fail to recognise the problem and often deny the presence of drug addicts, exacerbating the situation. Syiem stressed the need to create conditions that provide a platform for addiction recovery rather than just discussing addicts and their situations.
Pakha Tesia echoed these sentiments, urging the government to collaborate with various stakeholders on such crucial days. He emphasized the need for programs that address the entire community rather than holding events of limited public interest.
Advocate Aidahun Syiem focused on the failure to understand the parents’ role in early detection of drug abuse. “Awareness campaigns should not be limited to adolescents who are prospective users but should also target parents, training them to detect early signs of drug abuse in their children, as drug abuse impacts not only the user but the family as a whole,” she said. While she applauded the police department’s efforts in arresting and seizing drug users and traffickers, she expressed concern over the alarming frequency of such arrests, indicating a high prevalence of drug abuse in the state.
The programme also saw active participation from doctors, nurses, and students from various backgrounds, who engaged with the panelists and shared their concerns.

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