Never touched alcohol, tobacco, says Ghulam Nabi Azad

June 26th, 2009

NEW DELHI - Minister of Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad Friday said he and his family had never “touched” alcohol, tobacco products and drugs, and thus he had no first-hand idea about their effects.

“I have the proud privilege to announce that in my life so far, till today, I haven’t touched alcohol, cigarette, betel and gutkha-putkha. I never allowed my family to touch any of this. So, I don’t know the after-effects of all these,” the health minister said at a function here on the occasion of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Each year June 26 is observed the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. In New Delhi, the programme was organised by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Azad added that he had seen a number of cases of drug abuse. He also emphasised the need for a national drug abuse control policy.

“At present, there is no national drug abuse control policy. We feel the need for a national policy,” said Azad, highlighting the problems posed by drugs and its linkages with HIV-AIDS.

The health minister also stressed the need to work out a joint strategy to counter the challenges of drug abuse and HIV-Aids.

In his presidential address, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Mukul Wasnik outlined his ministry’s efforts to fight drug abuse.

With 400 drug de-addiction centres operating in the country with the support of the ministry, the attention was focused on ensuring quality services, he said.

“Effective and appropriate service delivery demands regular professional development of the service providers in terms of skills and strategies for dealing with addiction,” Wasnik said.

D. Napoleon, the minister of state for social justice and empowerment, said the ministry has a three-pronged strategy that includes building awareness and educating people about ill effects of drug abuse.

“Community-based intervention for motivational counselling, identification, treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts and training of volunteers and service providers and other stakeholders with a view to build up a committed and skilled cadre are the strategies,” he said.

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