The government is involving religious and spiritual organisations in its campaign against drug abuse.
The ministry of social justice and empowerment on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding with Shri Ramachandra Mission (SRM) for the Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyan (NMBA) to sensitise people against drug abuse.
Under the NMBA, being organised since August 2020, the ministry creates awareness and runs de-addiction centres. The ministry has already signed MoUs with Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya, Sant Nirankari Mission, Art of Living, Gayatri Pariwar and ISKCON.
Kamlesh D. Patel, president of the SRM, alleged that sections of the police were hand-in-glove with drug peddlers, contributing to the menace of substance abuse.
“The police know the source of drugs. It is crucial to act against such sources. But the police are hand-in-glove with the criminals,” he said.
Patel, known as Daaji among his followers, said the peddlers must be arrested and sent to jail. Repeat offenders should not be released on parole, he suggested.
Social justice minister Virendra Kumar said religious leaders had a mass following and the involvement of such organisations would help the government to spread the message against substance abuse.
An official said AIIMS New Delhi had conducted a survey in 2018 on the "Magnitude of Substance Use in India". The survey found that nearly 15 per cent of people in India consume alcohol and over 5 per cent need medical help at some point or the other to tackle their dependence. The survey also revealed that an estimated 4.6 lakh children were addicted to inhalant drugs and needed help.
Nearly 8,000 volunteers are involved under the NMBA to create awareness by organising events.