The Telegraph
Wednesday , February 5 , 2014
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Survey sounds addiction alarm

The steel city and its neighbouring areas seem to be aiming high to stay on a high.

Over half the population in Jamshedpur and surrounding areas in East Singhbhum is addicted to some form of intoxication, a recent survey conducted by city-based NGO Bal Majdoor Mukti Seva Sansthan has revealed. Results of the first-of-its-kind study in the area were forwarded to East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Amitabh Kaushal, senior superintendent of police Amol V. Homkar and Jamshedpur civil court district judge Amitabh Kumar on Monday.

The outfit involved 1,115 volunteers, comprising social workers and educationaists, to carry out the research on a sample populace of 20 lakh people staying in and around Jamshedpur over two years and six months.

Out of the 20 lakh people surveyed, 15,00,950, including minors, were found to be hooked to some kind of addiction or the other. They are residents of Jamshedpur and 10 other blocks of East Singhbhum and localities in Adityapur, Gamharia, Seraikela and Chandil in Seraikela-Kharsawan.

Considering that East Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan districts house 23 and 2 lakh people (according to 2011 Census), respectively, the whopping number of addicts is enough to set off the alarm bells.

Bal Majdoor Mukti Seva Sansthan’s chief patron Sadan Kumar Thakur said neither government agencies, nor corporate houses had data regarding the actual number of addicts in East Singhbhum and surrounding areas.

“We took up the challenge because we wanted to put forth the grim picture to the district administration. We hope the authorities will take steps to rehabilitate the addicts. The survey was completed in mid-January and after tabulation, we submitted the results to the authorities,” he said.

East Singhbhum civil surgeon L.B.P Singh expressed surprise at the findings, but admitted that the trend among the youth to look for avenues to release stress had led to an increase in addiction.

“The government has made laws against sale of gutkha and banned drugs, but it would not be effective unless implemented properly and offenders punished. We do organise drives to spread awareness due to addiction. But, it seems they have little impact on mindsets,” admitted the civil surgeon.

Additional chief medical officer East Singhbhum Kalicharan Munda said they did not have funds earmarked for carrying out awareness campaigns against drug abuse.

On the other hand, Sadan Kumar Thakur felt that the district administration should immediately set the ball rolling for opening state-funded rehabilitation and de-addiction centres to check the rise in number of addicts.

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