Ukhrul: The Hao Research Institute initiated Public Awareness on Drug Menace and the Tangkhul Youths at Town Hall Ukhrul on Saturday.
Hao Research Institute (HRI) is a nonprofit under the Society registration Act, formed in 2018. They have conducted many seminars relating to human rights and land rights and more.
“Today we are conducting this awareness program on Drug Abuse as it is a much needed program in Ukhrul District,” said Dr Yaronsho Ngalung, president of Hao Research Institute. We will be conducting many more seminars on tribal relevant issues in the future.
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Songashim Rungsung, Rubaru Mr. India 2020-2021 winner, visited the program to show support.
David K Shimray, president Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL), urged the youth to be very careful with what they consume, as it is not their enemy but their own way of living that will shorten their lives.
He also reminded the Tangkhul women that marrying a non-Naga may lead to land disputes, and go against the customary law. He requested the womenfolk to be very careful when they choose their life partner.
“Suicidal Psychology”, “Awareness on Substance Abuse” and “Drug Relapse Prevention Skills” was covered by Dr YL Mingthing, former director TTA; Dr Yuithingla Vashum, Sr Specialist and District AIDS control Officer Ukhrul/Kamjong; and Arthur R. Shimray, director NPP Counseling Training Centre.
Dr YL Mingthing talked about psychology. He said that psychology has something to do with interpersonal relationships.
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Talking about substance abuse, Dr Yuithingla Vashum said, “There are three stages of misuse of substance, namely experiments where an individual tries it – out of curiosity, out of poor negotiation or unable to refuse and peer pressure, then it turns them to occasional users where they will have, uncontrollable urge or continuous craving which will lead them to last stage, regular users.”
On explaining why we need to focus on the youth, Dr Yuithingla Vashum said youth constitute one-third of the 1.4 billion or more Indian populations. The youth in India represent a huge proportion of transforming the social and economic future of our land. In addition, she added that adolescence (aged 10-19) is the age group where the brain is in a developing stage, so the brain is vulnerable to adaptive, structural and functional changes.
Young, out of curiosity, out of peer pressure, lack of knowledge or poor self-esteem can develop unwanted behavior and repeated exposure to toxic influences can lead to intensive and long-lasting changes in the brain. According to studies, when 16 years old begin consuming alcohol, they have an 85% chance of developing Alcohol Use Disorder by the time they reach 40.
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Due to the pandemic, due to schools and colleges being closed, there was disruption of academic activities which led to reduce in sports and leisure time. An increase in idle hours at home and, due to the easy accessibility of drugs, many young people have indulged in substance abuse. From the 1980s, HIV-AIDS epidemics have claimed many youngsters in Manipur. Manipur is more vulnerable to this virus as it has close proximity to the golden triangle, so drugs are easily available. Consumption/injecting of drugs have led to an increase in the spread of HIV. Manipur is the 3rd place HIV positive after Mizoram and Nagaland.
Drug addicts in Ukhrul have increased drastically as compared to 2001, where the number was fewer than 2000. Ukhrul, Kamjong, Kasom and Senakeithei have Opiod Substitution Therapy centers (OST). Direct observation and substitution therapy is given to avoid injecting and overdose. Ukhrul has OST in District Hospital. The seats available for clients are only 100 but it is said to have crossed 400. There is increased drug addiction, alcoholism, infection of HIV, Hepatitis B and C in recent scenario which have led to untimely deaths.
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“Promotion of awareness, unceasing support by the Churches, CSO, and NGOs for the younger generation is very much needed’, said Dr Vashum. “We need to create opportunity for the youth and children to give their best in any field”, she added.
Arthur R. Shimray said that stress, anxiety, emotional instability and idleness are main reasons for relapse. He added that practicing mindfulness, indulging in healthy habits, increasing healthy behavior, exercise and healthy eating are some of the habits to manage relapse.
The program concluded with a discussion hour and a Q&A session with the students and the resource people. Around 300 school and college students attended the program.
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