The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment organized a national level function here today on the
occasion of the “International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking” to generate public
awareness about the ill-effects of drug abuse and launched a campaign to fight against the drug abuse.
Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, the Vice President of India was the Chief Guest and Shri Thaawarchand
Gehlot, the Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, presided over the function. Ministers
of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Krishan Pal Gurjar, Shri Ram Das Athawale, Shri
Rattan Lal Kataria, Secretary, M/o SJ&E Ms. Nilam Sawhney and many dignitaries were present.
The Vice President of India as Chief Guest in his speech said that drug abuse is global challenge even
the developed nations find difficult to encounter. Since the abuse of drugs can afflict persons of any age
group and the youngsters, especially teenagers and the neo-youth are particularly vulnerable to fall
victims to the drug mafia, the Government and the civil society both have an onerous responsibility to
ensure that they, the potential victims, are made aware of the perils of drug abuse and to make them
immune to the temptation of drugs. The magnitude of the challenge posed by alcoholism and drug abuse
is so huge that any effort of the Governmental agencies, however concerted it may be, will not alone
suffice to contain the peril. The State Government, Non-Governmental Organizations and dedicated
individuals also have a great responsibility at hand, to achieve the end of this menace.
He opined that the magnitude of the challenge posed by drug abuse is so huge that efforts of the
Governmental agencies alone will not suffice. The NGOs and other dedicated individuals also have a
great responsibility in eradicating this menace.
Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, in his speech, mentioned that the Ministry has also identified some high risk
districts which require special attention in order to increase community participation and public
cooperation in the reduction of demand for dependence-producing substances. These programmes
include Community Based Peer Led Intervention for early Drug Use Prevention among Adolescents and
Youth and Outreach and Drop in Centres. Through these programmes, youth would be trained as Peer
Educators to lead peer led community intervention and implement early prevention education especially
for vulnerable adolescents and youth in the community.
Shri Rattan Lal Kataria, Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment, in his welcome address,
highlighted the importance of the Day and the efforts made by the Ministry in this regard. He stated
that Alcohol and drug abuse has emerged as a serious concern in India. Addiction to drugs and alcohol
not only affects the individuals involved but also disrupts the family and society at large. The menace of
drug abuse among the younger generation has been rising all over the world and India is no exception.
With the support of like minded organizations such as Regional Rehabilitation Centre, Non-
Governmental Organisations, State Governments, Media etc., we will be able to curb this social
Ms. Nilam Sawhney, Secretary, in her address thanked the Vice President of India for his gracious
presence on the occasion and said that his association with this cause will act as a great source of
encouragement to the persons and Institutions working in the field of drug abuse and drug demand
reduction. She also thanked the Union Minister of SJ&E under whose able leadership and unflinching
commitment, the Ministry has taken several initiatives for drug demand reduction including holding this
Ms. Rashmi Chowdhary, Joint Secretary, M/o SJ&E presented a Report on “The National Survey on
Extent and Pattern of Substance Use” and “National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction
(NAPDDR)”. Both these initiatives of the Government of India have been taken in the backdrop of a
substantial increase in the substance use amongst the younger population, with more people initiating
substance user from an early age. Accurate knowledge on the extent and pattern of substance use in
India is a significant first step to address this serious social health problem in India.
Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment observes 26 th June every year as “International Day
Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking”. It is the nodal Ministry for drug demand reduction. It
coordinates and monitors all aspects of drug abuse prevention which include assessment of the extent of
the problem, preventive action, treatment and rehabilitation of addicts, dissemination of information and
public awareness. The Ministry provides community based services for the identification, treatment and
rehabilitation of addicts through Voluntary Organizations. The Ministry provides financial assistance to
NGOs across the country for running de-addiction centres. The Ministry has also set up a 24×7 National
Toll Free drug de-addiction helpline number 1800110031 to help the victims of drug abuse, their family
and society at large.