Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Wednesday said that a mass campaign involving parents, teachers and every responsible citizen of the country was required to curb the menace of drug abuse and make the society drug-free and healthy.

While addressing the state-level anti-drug rally at Baddi in Solan district, the Chief Minister said that although Himachal Pradesh has honour of being the ‘Dev Bhoomi’, yet it was not untouched from the menace of drug abuse.

“It is need of the hour to launch a collective campaign against this social vice,” he added

Thakur said that since Himachal Pradesh shares border with four states, the drug peddlers are quite active in the border districts of the state. He said that most of the cases registered against drug peddlers were from neighbouring states. It was on the initiative of the state government that a meeting of Chief Ministers of neighbouring states was held at Chandigarh to chalk out a joint strategy against drug abuse.

He said that this initiative has proved to be a success as several drug peddlers have been nabbed and put behind bars due to sharing of information against them.

The CM said that a special campaign would be launched throughout the state to sensitise the people, particularly the youth, against ill effects of drug abuse. Prevention programmes involving entities such as families, schools and the immediate communities were important in this regard. He urged the children to come forward to discourage their elders from using liquor just for sake of entertainment and relaxation.

He said that media also needs to understand its role in this context and should play a positive role by resisting the urge to earn millions by romanticising and glorifying drug abuse. Media needs to highlight the damaging consequences of drug abuse, he added.

It was important that the youth were made to feel that drug usage itself was harmful in every conceivable way, and only then they would stop using them and prevent others in their peer group from doing the same.

Thakur said the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, was enacted with stringent provisions to curb this menace which envisages a minimum term of 10 years imprisonment extendable to 20 years and fine of Rs 1 lakh extendable up to Rs 2 lakhs for the offenders.

The Act has been further amended by making provisions for the forfeiture of properties derived from illicit drugs trafficking. The government has now decided to bring a law to make drug peddling a non-bailable offence.

He urged the younger generation to make new friends who practice healthier habits, who do well in school, who are motivated at work and have high goals.