Get it on

Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula urged the people and the institutions concerned to initiate a social campaign against drug abuse and illicit trafficking on the occasion of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, June 26. The minister opined that since law alone would not ensure effective control over drug abuse and illegal trade in humans, the society at large should be involved in this cause. He also said a national policy should be formulated after appropriate debate and discussion with all the stakeholders. Sitaula is right in one thing: that a positive impact can only be generated if a nationwide campaign is undertaken with active participation of the citizens’ groups. Such a campaign must also involve people from the grassroots.

However, success of any social awareness campaign is contingent upon the depth of government’s commitment. Because legal protection is the most important instrument to check social ills, the state’s role becomes all the more crucial. If the government enforced stringent measures to check drug abuse and illicit trafficking, things would improve drastically. According to official figures, there are still around 70 thousand drug addicts in the country and around 55 per cent of them are HIV/AIDS victims. Some introspection is certainly warranted to find out as to why past government policies in this regard failed to become effective and why NGO-led programmes have proved by and large redundant in spite of the huge foreign assistance for over 15 years now.