The Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, has called for the strengthened prevention to address the growing concern of substance abuse among students, ahead of the observance of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, with the theme, ‘People first: stop stigma and discrimination, strengthen prevention’.
As per the GSCPCR, strengthening prevention is very vital as the drug abuse problem is now eating into the very vials of Goa’s society and is doing much more damage than even alcohol. Drug and alcohol use affects health outcomes, job opportunities, family life, and academic outcomes. The problem is grave and continues to wreak havoc in the state, resulting in tragic consequences for young adolescents, their families, and communities.
“Prevention programmes in educational settings offer a ‘window of opportunity’ for the establishment of neural pathways that may protect against the development of drug and alcohol use problems. The state requires, a well-coordinated, sustainable response to reduce the harmful use of alcohol and drugs that seeks to improve the health and social outcomes for individuals, families, and communities. Therefore, now more than ever, it is critical to focus resources and efforts”, said Peter F Borges, Chairperson, GSCPCR.
The Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, in the recent times, has been leading coordinated efforts with government departments and civil society organization for strengthening prevention initiatives in the state. The same will be now strengthened with measures which include the promotion of ‘Prahari clubs’ to ensure a drug-free campus by imposing a total ban on the possession or consumption or use of drugs and alcohol by students at the school, within or outside the campus. A large range of preventive programmes will be promoted through the clubs to prevent children from using tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.
Secondly, the Commission will also focus on the capacity building of stakeholders, i.e., counsellors, nodal teachers, to create a cadre of professionals to provide range of substance use prevention and early intervention services and support. It will also look into the formulation and adaptation of a school drug policy, to set normative values and expectations for students’ behaviour, as well as to document procedures for dealing with drug-related incidents in schools.