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Wage war on drugs and focus on rehabilitation of victims: CS to Officials

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JAMMU: Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta today chaired the 4th UT Level Apex Committee meeting of NCORD and held an in-depth review of all the ongoing activities happening across Jammu and Kashmir to combat the drug menace here.

The meeting was attended by Additional Chief Secretary, Home; DGP, J&K; Principal Secretary, Education; Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir; ADGP, Kashmir/Jammu; Commissioner Secretary, Forests; Commissioner Secretary, Social Welfare; Secretary Health; Director, Information and Public Relations; Excise Commissioner; State Drug Controller;  Zonal Director, NCB Jammu; SSP, ANTF and all the Deputy Commissioners and District SPs both in person and through video conferencing.

Dr Mehta while addressing the officers remarked that the victims of drug abuse deserve handholding and every possible assistance to live a normal life. He impressed upon the officers that without showing any laxity in the ongoing war on drugs, the focus should also be laid on the rehabilitation of its victims.

The Chief Secretary further exhorted upon the officers to involve PRIs as well as Anganwadi centres and schools for rehabilitation of drug abuse victims as well as for generating awareness among the public particularly youth about the negative impact of drug abuse. He underscored that it is our collective duty to root out this plague from society.

Highlighting on the importance of creating awareness among the public, Dr. Mehta enjoined upon the officers to maintain coordination and synergy between different departments and stakeholders so that this evil is uprooted completely from the UT.

He impressed upon the Secretary Health to upscale the activities under the Tele Manas helpline for counseling and proper rehabilitation of victims. He also directed the Health department to create awareness among the public about the Tele Manas helpline number 14416 as well as establish a WhatsApp helpline under the same initiative.

Calling upon the officers to popularize the Tele Manas Helpline, Dr. Mehta advised the officers of the Education and Health departments to popularize Tele Manas among students of educational institutions for reaping the benefits. He further asked them to make the students aware of drug abuse during morning prayers as well as discuss its symptoms during Parent-Teacher meetings so that they can keep a close watch on their wards.

Stressing on the need for proper vigil and surveillance to combat this menace, the Chief Secretary directed the Deputy Commissioners and SSPs to monitor the hotspot areas in their respective districts involved in the trading of drugs and take required punitive actions on the same.

He asked them to monitor pharmacies and take action against those found involved in the misuse of drugs that can be used as Psychotropic substances. He also asked them to take action against pharmacies found involved in the selling of drugs without a prescription from authorized medical practitioners. He stressed on making special efforts to check online pharmacies, and courier services to not take any chance against this social evil.

While reviewing the measures of law enforcement agencies regarding combating this evil, Dr. Mehta exhorted upon the officers to analyze the data of districts regarding conviction rates under the NDPS Act and act on the officers for non-performance during the investigation of these cases. He stressed on increasing the rate of converting the FIRs into convictions besides involving all the stakeholders in the ‘War against Drugs’.

During the meeting, the Chief Secretary also sought a briefing from all the Deputy Commissioners and SSPs regarding efforts being made for combating this menace across Jammu and Kashmir. He also directed the Deputy Commissioners to hold monthly meetings by district NCORD committees without fail and update the data of same on the national NCORD portal. He told them to constitute a special team of the Drug Control department to look after our airports for drug peddling or smuggling of contraband substances.

Earlier in the meeting, a detailed presentation on the drug scenario in J&K and the challenges to counter the drug menace and efforts being made by all stakeholders to fight this problem was also presented before the Chief Secretary.

It was given in the meeting that in Kashmir Division, a total of 159 drug dealers have been booked under PITNDPS while in Jammu Division 43 drug dealers have been detained during 2022.

Similarly, the meeting was informed that a total of 1850 FIRs have been registered while 2756 persons have been arrested for carrying out this illicit trade. Moreover, in 2022, 240 kg Heroin, 498 kgs Charas, 249 Kg Ganja, and 178677 Caps/bottles/tabs of Scheduled drugs have been seized throughout J&K, as was revealed in this meeting.

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