Great efforts needed to check drug abuse: President

New Delhi, June 26 (IANS) Great efforts are needed to be made to check drug abuse and alcoholism in India, President Pranab Mukherjee said Wednesday.

Speaking after giving away National Awards for Outstanding Services in the Field of Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance, the president said alcoholism and drug abuse is a serious threat to a nation like India, which has a huge young population.

"For a nation like India, given our demographic profile, alcoholism and drug abuse are a matter of serious concern," he stated. "There is an urgent need for concerted efforts of all stakeholders to prevent and eradicate this menace."

He called upon coalitions of teachers, faith-based groups, health care providers, law enforcement officials, and all community leaders to join together to address, in a comprehensive but sensitive manner, alcoholism and substance abuse in their respective areas.

"We need to make a greater effort to generate awareness of the deleterious effects of drug abuse in a sustained, continuous and result oriented manner," he said.

Speaking at the occasion, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Kumari Selja said the social pressure which stopped people from indulging in alcohol and drugs has been eroding.

"Alcohol and drugs have become a serious problem in recent years because the social pressure, which stopped people from doing it, is eroding," she said.

The minister also said that data from the field was needed to see the patterns of drug abuse.

A total of five organisations and two individuals were given the award.

The institutions which received the award included Youth Development Organisation of Manipur; T.T. from Ranganathan Clinical Research Foundation in Tamil Nadu; Gram Panchayat Chharba, Vikas Khand Sahaspur in Dehradun, Uttarakhand; Central Young Mizo Association, Mizoram; and Nehru Yuva Kendra, Thoubal, Manipur.

In the individual category, awards were given to Anil Awachat of Muktangan Mitra from Pune, Maharashtra, and Soram Ratan Singh from Imphal, Manipur, for their outstanding work in the field of prevention of alcoholism and drugs.

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