Imphal, June 26,
The protection of rights of people who use drugs and the related advocacy activities in the state was commemorated at the ‘Global day of Action’ held today at the Manipur Press Club in Imphal organised by the Harm Reduction Network – Manipur (HRNM) on the theme ‘Support Don’t Punish’.
Speaking on the occasion the Manipur AIDS Control Society (MACS) Project Director Radhabinod stated that social organizations and youth began taking a role when the Manipur State AIDS Control Society (MSACS) began addressing the drugs and AIDS problem in the state systematically. The MACS directors did not depend on others, the director said and drugs prevention to deal with injecting and other users was one aspect while the drugs procurement chain was the other.
Radhabinod also stated that women’s organizations could contribute towards ending drugs use.
Also speaking on the occasion Joint Director of the MACS, Abhiram Mongjam stated that global action on drugs control is already on and cited the works of Oja Suramani for 29 years in the state and social worker Iboyaima who started a students movement on drugs. He also cited Prof. MC Arun’s comment earlier in the day about conflict with gunmen in the state involving students working in the area at that time and how the slogan ‘No to drugs’ was coined by the professor.
Abhiram also stated that the MSACS had given the statistics of 107 drug users left in the state along with 108 women sex workers who had HIV – that was 9.4 percent only. This he claimed was due to the advocacy of workers like Oja Chidamani who 10 years back proposed a policy on drugs in the state and addressed the problem of drugs procurement in border areas also. The MSACS coordinated in various departments of the state government for the same, he said, and also informed that the man for harm reduction in Asia is from the state, adding that family discords could be solved by prevention and that a day should be announced for that every month. Drug users now want OSD and harm reduction is working, he said.
Forcible jail terms and other related problems faced by drug users because of the authorities is not part of the fight against drugs, Hijam Rajesh of the Harm Reduction Manipur Centre said. The state chief minister Biren was also becoming informed and that 1.5 Trillion dollars were being spent internationally on fighting drugs, he said.
The meeting was attended by various medias and meira paibi organizations and a group photo was taken at the end of the meeting.