Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Monday called for the need of a joint strategy by northern states to eradicate the drug menace from society.

Addressing the regional conference of Chief Ministers of Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Administrator of Chandigarh Union Territory through video conference, he said the drug abuse has assumed a major threat to the society, thus it was essential to chalk out a joint strategy to tackle this social vice.

“This was not an issue confined to a few states, but a universal problem across the boundaries now,” he said. Thakur said he was supposed to personally attend this important meeting, but due to bad weather he could not attend it.

The CM said that about 1,000 arrests had been made in the state against drug peddlers. He said that since the state has borders with several states, it was essential that joint task force be constituted to check cross border drug peddling.

He said that due to greater pressure on the drug peddlers in the neighbouring states, the cases of drug related arrests had increased manifold in HP.

The CM said the charas or cannabis was one of the major substances used by drug addicts in the state, but now synthetic drugs had emerged as a major area of concern. He said that substance addiction had a severe impact not only on the individual, but those closest to them and society as a whole.

Thakur said that the state government was contemplating to evolve a mechanism for regular medical checkups in schools to diagnose students so that early signs of drug abuse could be detected. He said that regular follow up should be ensured so that an effective strategy could be finalised.

Thakur said that effective sharing mechanism should be developed to share information regarding drug peddling so that the culprit could be nabbed. He said that drug abuse and peddling also attribute to crime, diseases, accidents, domestic violence, abuse, job loss, and homelessness. He said that long term strategy should also be chalked out to engage youth in constructive activities. He said that parents should also keep an eye on abnormal behaviour of their teenage children.

Thakur said that large amount of crime could be attributed to substance addictions. This is because many addicts are trying to obtain money to purchase their substance of choice and when a purchase goes wrong they need more money and violence normally occurs during these situations, he
added.

It was decided in the meeting that a Common Secretariat would be established in Panchkula in Haryana to check this social vice and all the neighbouring state would appoint a Nodal Officers for effective coordination.

It was also decided that Uttar Pradesh would also be requested to be part of this campaign and the Chief Ministers of these northern states would meet after every six months in a year and Secretary level meeting would be at least four times in a year.