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SATURDAY SCHEME

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has drafted a five-year action plan for addressing the problem of drug and substance abuse in the country, dumping a long-pending draft policy on the matter.

National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (2018-2023)

  • It aims to employ a multi-pronged strategy — involving education, de-addiction and rehabilitation of affected individuals and their families — to address the issue.
  • The objective is to create awareness and educate people about the ill-effects of drugs abuse on the individual, family, workplace and the society at large in order to integrate them back into the society.
  • The ministry has planned several measures for controlling sale of sedatives, painkillers and muscle relaxant drugs, and checking online sale of drugs by stringent monitoring by cyber cell, under the national action plan.

Various measures in the Plan

  • It includes holding awareness generation programmes at schools, colleges, universities, workplaces and for police functionaries, paramilitary forces, law enforcement agencies, judicial officers and Bar council, among others.
  • Plans are also afoot for awareness generation through social, print, digital and online media, and engagement of celebrities, besides strengthening the national toll-free helpline for drug prevention
  • It also calls for persuading principals, directors, vice chancellors of educational institutions to ensure that no drugs are sold within/nearby the campus.
  • It also includes identification of vulnerable areas based on survey, skill development, vocational training and livelihood support of ex-drug addicts through National Backward Classes Finance and other Development Corporations and continuous research on drug use pattern.

Other Initiatives

  • The ministry, in collaboration with the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) under the AIIMS, is also conducting a national survey on the extent and pattern of substance abuse.
  • A steering committee would be constituted under the chairmanship of the secretary, Social Justice Ministry, and with representatives from the Ministries of Health, HRD, WCD, MHA, Skill development and Entrepreneurship, among others.
  • The committee will hold quarterly meetings to monitor effective implementation of the NAPDDR.
  • As a part of the plan, module for re-treatment, ongoing treatment and post-treatment of addicts of different categories and age groups will be developed and database on substance use will be maintained.

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