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Over 40,000 youths dependent on drugs need empathy: Conrad

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SHILLONG, June 26 (PTI): Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Monday said that altogether 40,500 youths of the state are now dependent on narcotic drugs and they need to be treated with empathy so that they become responsible citizens.

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Sangma highlighted the state’s ambitious Drug Reduction, Elimination and Action Mission (DREAM), a Rs 10 crore programme aimed at eliminating substance abuse by leveraging the participation of communities and religious bodies and coordinating strategies.

“The state government is making concerted efforts to ensure that Meghalaya becomes a drug-free state. We need to ensure that the 40,500 youth who are totally dependent on drugs are treated with empathy and taken care of so that they can integrate back into society as responsible and productive citizens,” he said.

The chief minister was addressing the state-level awareness programme on the  International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Sangma said that observing the Day is part of a larger plan to ensure that the state gets productive, responsible and healthy youth for its bright future.

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“All the welfare and developmental programmes and policies of the government will be meaningless if the youth are addicted to drugs. Drugs destroy not only the abuser, but also the families, the society, and the future,” he stated.

The chief minister commended the work of the police department that arrested several drug dealers and seized consignments worth crores of rupees in the past few months.

He congratulated the police force for creating a national record for organising 1,263 drug awareness programmes under Nasha Mukht Bharat Pakhwada, a central government programme against drug abuse.

“Several rehabilitation centres and detoxification centres will be established and NGOs will be financially assisted for treatment and rehabilitation (of drug abusers) and outreach programmes,” he said.

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Sangma also appealed to the NGOs, religious and academic institutions, community leaders and organisations to include the fight against drug abuse as a priority issue.

The chief minister also launched the Drug-Free Meghalaya app on the occasion.

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