The Arunachal Pradesh government has made it mandatory for its Group A and B employees to undergo an online certificate course on drug abuse prevention.
The move is part of its ongoing effort to check the menace of growing drug addiction in the frontier state.
Chief minister Pema Khandu launched the four-month course on Friday with the objective of turning these employees into ambassadors of change in the society by making them aware about drug abuse prevention and management.
The online course follows the amnesty offered last year by the state government to its employees voluntarily declaring their addiction so that they could be treated. Some 300 employees had disclosed their addiction.
After the voluntary disclosure scheme, the government conducted random toxicology tests on its employees. Toxicology tests determine traces of drugs in a person.
Khandu said alcoholism and substance abuse is a major concern since it is “engulfing” the state’s youth at an alarming pace and the certificate course is a “strong push” in the government’s ongoing war on drug abuse.
Eight Arunachal districts — Changlang, Tirap, Namsai, Lohit, Dibang Valley, Upper Siang, West Kameng and Anjaw — figure among the 272 worst drug-affected districts in the country.
Khandu said he realised the plight of families and persons affected by drug abuse “only after” watching the Arunachalee movie I Killed My Son Recently.
“It broke my heart to realise how dangerous the menace is and how families suffer in silence. Most of us only hear about drug abuse and its impact on those affected. We hardly see families suffer in isolation,” he said.
The certificate course will have, among others, modules on understanding substance abuse, types and harmful effect of drugs, signs and symptoms, myths and facts, counselling and intervention, management of alcohol/cannabis/opioid use and related disorders, behavioural change, communication and family role, workplace prevention and law enforcement.
Arunachal chief secretary Naresh Kumar told The Telegraph that the government could extend the online course to other groups of employees and the public, especially parents and teachers, based on the response of Group A and B employees, who are in the officer rank.