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Concerns mount as Meghalaya grapples with 2.5 lakh drug addicts

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, May 20: Meghalaya social welfare minister Paul Lyngdoh raised concerns on Monday (May 20) about the surging number of drug addicts in the state.

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According to Lyngdoh, the number of drug addicts in Meghalaya reached a staggering 2.5 lakh, inclusive of women and minors.

Briefing the media, the Meghalaya minister said: “In a state with a population of 35 lakh, if 2.5 lakh are drug addicts, the situation is rather grim.”

Notably, the Meghalaya government allocated Rs 15.65 lakh as the second instalment of funding to support an anti-drug campaign initiated by the Mawlai Town Dorbar.

This initiative marks the first traditional institution in Meghalaya to undertake efforts aimed at rehabilitating drug addicts from the locality and its surroundings.

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Lyngdoh stressed on the importance of reinforcing the Anti-Narcotic Task Force (ANTF) at key entry points, particularly in the East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya, which serves as the primary gateway to the Khasi-Jaintia Hills sector.

He stressed the need to enhance the ANTF’s efficiency and manpower, anticipating improvements with upcoming recruitments in the state police and home guards.

Furthermore, Lyngdoh mentioned plans to incentivize the Meghalaya home department through the DREAM project, enabling them to organize similar anti-drug programs involving local police departments and Village Defence Parties (VDPs).

These strategic measures aim to combat the drug menace effectively, with additional strategies in the pipeline, promising visible results in the near future.

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