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The authors have rightly highlighted the need for decriminalization and no penalty for non violent drug users. We are of the opinion that penalty and putting drug abusers behind bars is not an effective method to control substance abuse in society. What is needed is awareness generation among the general public about the issue as a social evil, not targeting the substance abusers alone and to reduce stigma and discrimination among the substance abusers.
National governments should consider in their policy a holistic approach whereby civil societies in coordination with government departments focus on counselling, drug de-addiction, rehabilitation, stronger implementation of laws. Substance abuse affects the most productive age group of society, viz. adolescents and youths. While source reduction is practically impossible, empowerment of the public regarding knowledge and attitude towards harmful effects of illicit drugs and substances will help in reducing the problem to a large extent. A pro active society with strong message of "SAY NO TO DRUGS" can only act against substance abuse provided that there is strong government support for the programme. This needs a firm policy on enhanced funding, strict implementation of national laws against substance abuse and source reduction.
No competing interests
07 December 2016
Mongjam Meghachandra Singh
Director-Professor, co-author: Assistant Professor
Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, and IGNOU, New Delhi
Department of Community Medicine, MAMC, New Delhi; School of Health Sciences, IGNOU, New Delhi