Sikkim Against Addiction Towards Healthy India (SAATHI), a project under the Chief Minister’s Youth Empowerment and self-reliant mission, organized an awareness program on “ill effects of substance abuse” in association with NSS, Sikkim University on 02,04.2019. The program had the participation of 81 students.

The program started with welcome by Dr. Nidhi Saxena and was delighted to collaborate with SAATHI and to create awareness on ill effects of substance abuse. After that, Mr. Tempo bhutia, President, Saathi introduced and oriented about SAATHI to the participants and explained in brief how SAATHI works and have reached from 100 schools to, conducting awareness program in colleges and universities now.

Next, Justice A. P. Subba(Retd.), High Court of Sikkim boldly highlighted that “substance abuse is a global phenomenon”, where India also falls under the golden circle. He mentioned that our country have become the large consumer of substance, that 10.7 million Indians are abusing substance ,the figure is equivalent to the population of Sweden he said. He also explained that abusing substance is a complex problem, which cannot be seen from a single perspective, but from various approaches be it, psychological, physical, legal etc. He ended with a saying that the menace of substance abuse is rising and death penalty is not the solution. Also said that “if you want the law to protect you, you should also protect the law.

Shri T.K Kaul, Registrar, Sikkim University He introduced the audience by appreciating the NSS Cell of Sikkim University and SAATHI Sikkim for conducting an awareness program with regarding to substance abuse. He shared his experience of how he noticed that the people are addicted to the fluid that is present in the BSNL landline wire, and the stole them for the high it provided. After that Prof Avinash Khare (Vice Chancellor) Sikkim University started his speech by appreciating the effort of organizing the program on substance abuse. He also highlighted about psychoactive substance and how it is widely prevalent with the youth. Lastly noted that substance abuse is rampant around the worlds and we should all work together to do something.

Then, Dr. Bibhushan Dahal, Psychiatric Dept. STNM Hospital started his session with theme “I am not what happened to me: I am what I choose to become” and explained the participants on the medical aspect of substance abuse. About the history of substance abuse and stressed his topic on how to find out if anyone is into substance addiction or other addictive behavior disorder, causes of these addiction, how harmful it is to our body, how it hampers your daily life and how to get out of this addiction. He encouraged the participants to resist the addiction and abuse of substances and to stay away from those group who use substance. He also had highlighted basic life skills and how to cope with the stress.

Thereafter, Mr. Bishal Darnal, Teacher Coordinator of Modern Sr. Sec. School had shared substance abuse cases at schools, how students have reformed and actively working as SAATHI peer educators. He said that we should be empathetic and treat the addiction as a mental disease. He stressed that ignorance is no more a bliss and urged everyone to intervene if we found any child or youth affected with substance abuse. The program was taken ahead by Ms. Chomu Lachungpa, Sikkim Police spoke about legal aspects of substance abuse wherein she had explained about SADA, COTPA and JJ act.

The program ended with a vote of thanks from NSS team of Sikkim University.

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