A multi-stakeholder meet was held Wednesday on the occasion of the World Mental Health Day by the Delhi government to tackle the growing problem of drug or substance abuse in the country and formulate a comprehensive response to it, officials said.
The meeting was organised by the Department of Health and Family Welfare of the Delhi government along with the HIV/AIDS Alliance and the United Religious Initiative (URI), representatives of whom engaged with several faith-based organisations.
"The event was an effort to increase community engagement in tackling the growing problem of drug or substance abuse in the country and promote the cause of a healthy society," the Delhi government said in a statement.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain shared insights on the role of such organisations in educating the masses, especially the youth.
He also spoke about the vital role civil society can play in helping the government achieve its objective of reducing the demand for drugs.
India HIV/AIDS Alliance is the Principal Recipient for the Global Fund Regional Harm Reduction Advocacy in Asia Project (2017-2019) that involves seven countries in the continent -- India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal and the Philippines, it said.
"The objective of the project is to maximize the impact of investments that can help break the cycle of transmission of HIV among Person Who Inject Drugs (PWID) by addressing legal, policy and health system barriers hindering the access and coverage of core services," it said.
As per the World Drug Report 2017, an estimated quarter of a billion people, or around five per cent of the global adult population, have used drugs at least once in the past one year, the statement said.
Even more worrisome is the fact that about 29.5 million of these People Who Use Drugs (PUDs), or 0.6 per cent of the global adult population, suffer from drug use disorders.
This exposes the rampant problem of drug abuse that needs engagement at several levels in order to be dealt with effectively. Statistics show that the present situation, especially amongst the youth, is one of drug dependence - they require medical attention and treatment for recovery.
"The consultation will provide an open platform for stakeholders, especially the faith-based organisations, to develop an understanding of the issue surrounding PUDs and other sub-groups like women, adolescents and inmates. This strategic partnership with faith-based organisations will, thus, help formulate a better legal as well as policy framework to address the healthcare and human rights of PUDs," it said.
(With inputs from agencies.)