86.6 per cent of 2,633 drug users are jobless
Aizawl (zoramobserver.com): Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla on Tuesday said that drugs and alcohol are the biggest enemy of the society and therefore, underlined the need for collective effort to curb the growing menace in the state.
“Not only the state social welfare department, but also all NGOs and churches have an important role to play in combating drug abuse in the state and this concerted efforts by the government, NGOs and churches will have great impact on curbing the growing menace of drugs in the state,” Lal Thanhawla said while releasing “The Baseline Survey on the Extent & Pattern of Drug use in Mizoram ” prepared by Social Welfare Department (SWD) here on Tuesday.
He said that the Young Mizo Association (YMA), the largest organisation pioneering drugs combat in Mizoram has consulted the state government and churches and it has been unanimously agreed upon that declaration of ‘combating against drug menace’ would be made statewide soon.
Citing that officials had mulled over efforts to curb cross-border drug smuggling, Lal Thanhawla said his government will seek collaboration with chief minister of Chin Hills and Zo ethnic people of Myanmar to curb the cross-border drug traffickers along the Indo-Myanmar border, if need be.
Lal Thanhawla expressed regret over the attack on some de-addiction centres. He said that these centres voluntarily serves addicts demanding nothing in return and it is unfortunate that some of the de-addiction centres and their caretakers are being attacked and abused.
He further said that the officials should maintain vigil on their staff to ensure that the seized drugs are not stolen but disposed properly.
Baseline Survey report
“The Baseline Survey on the Extent & Pattern of Drug use in Mizoram ” which was released on Tuesday was prepared by Social Welfare Department (SWD) with the help of Respondent Driven Sampling(RDS) based on interview held with 2,633 drug users.
The survey reveals many shocking facts about drug abuse in Mizoram and underlined the need and urgency to fight drug abuse on a war footing manner.
They survey was carried out in all the eight districts of Mizoram by 32 researchers in jails and among drug users. During the nine month long survey at least 2,633 drugs users were interviewed, of which 2,353 were males, 265 were females and 11 were transgenders.
Of the 2,633 drug users interviewed, 1,091 (41.4 %) completed their middle school, 954 (36.2 %) completed higher secondary school and 273 (10.4 %) were undergraduate.
The survey revealed that 86.6 per cent of drug users were jobless, while 635 (24.1 %) were divorcees.
Female outnumbered male in selling drugs and among the female drug users, 33 per cent were commercial sex workers.
Of the 2,633 drug users interviewed, 62.4% used unprotected sex, while 1.3% has relationship with same sex. Of the people who used sex, 24.1 per cent has legitimate partners.
Pharmaceutical opioids are the common abused drugs in Mizoram, followed by heroin, sedative drugs and inhalants (volatile solvents).
Of the 2,633 drug users, 65.8 per cent used heroin, while 90.6 per cent used drugs with alcohol and 56.6 per cent used drug with ganja or cannabis.
Of the interviewed drug users, 2,064 (78.4 %) had injected drug at least one time in their life tiem, while 500 out of 2,064 people shares needle with their friends. Champhai district has registered the highest number of injecting drug users.
The survey also revealed that 48 per cent of the drug users were getting treatment from OPDs in different hospitals, while 39.9 per cent were provided treatment from IPDs. Another 35 per cent were getting OST (Opioid Substitution Treatment).
Overdose was commonest among the heroin users with 47 per cent followed by detro-propoxyphene (like spasmo- proxyvon and parvon spas).
Of the 2,633 drug users, 1174 people have been arrested and out of this 386 people were booked under the existing laws.