In an effort to discourage the trend of drug addiction among the younger generation, members of a youth-run organisation took a unique initiative on Monday to mark International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (June 26).
A protest featuring a puppet show was held outside the National Press Club, wherein the protesters [puppets] chanted slogans against the use of drugs.
The initiative was part of a project titled “Puppets for Drug Demand Reduction”– a year-long campaign against drug abuse that kicked off on Monday. It was organised by Neegar Society in collaboration with the Narcotics Affairs section of the US embassy.
Under the project, 50 live theatre performances have been arranged in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) to highlight the hazards of drug abuse, said Neegar Society President Waqas Falak.
Asked about the reason for selecting these areas, he said that a majority of drug abusers belong to the K-P and Punjab according to the Anti-Narcotics Force and a significant proportion of them are between the ages of 12 and 25. The project aims to attract 2,000 people live and 4,000 through the media.
In addition to that, the organisation will visit different educational institutions to raise awareness on the issue.
While talking to The Express Tribune, Jeffrey T Lodermeier, a narcotics affairs officer at the US embassy, said Pakistan neighbours the world’s largest poppy producer which in one way or the other increases access to drugs. “This is one of the biggest challenging in curbing the supply of drugs in the country,” he said.
Nevertheless, he appreciated the dramatic reduction in poppy production which the country has witnessed during the past few years.
According to Lodermeier, no authentic data on drug abuse is available in Pakistan at the moment. However, the US embassy, in collaboration with the United Kingdom, has started a two-month nation-wide survey which will include 60,000 households. The survey’s findings will be shared within this year.
In addition to that, Colombo Plan, a US-sponsored project, will also be initiated under which professional training would be given to rehabilitate addicts according to international practices.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2012.