President Ram Nath Kovind today said the increase in the menace of drug trafficking and drug abuse in border areas is associated with terrorism and political unrest and stressed on the need for more vigilance in border states like Punjab and Manipur.

He said India’s geographical location between Myanmar-Laos-Thailand’s Golden Triangle’ and Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan’s Golden Crescent’ makes the problem of drug abuse and illicit trafficking even acuter and complicated.

“Increase in drug trafficking and drug abuse in border areas is also associated with issues of terrorism and political unrest. That is why there is a need to be more vigilant in border states like Punjab and Manipur,” he said.

Kovind was speaking after presenting the national awards for outstanding services in the field of prevention of alcoholism and substance abuse on the occasion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

The president said drug addiction and alcoholism negatively impacts the individual, family and society in multiple domains such as health, culture, development and politics.

Drug addiction spurs poverty and also poses a challenge to national security as well as development and public welfare goals, he said.

Kovind said misuse of illegal drugs is creating health challenges especially for the young generation and school going children and stressed that the problem of drug abuse can be solved by awareness, prevention, incentives, and support efforts.

In these efforts compassion and sympathy for drug addicts is also necessary, he said and added that parents, teachers, doctors and voluntary organizations should be associated in the medical and rehabilitation efforts.

He noted the steps taken by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in this direction.

Union Social Justice Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot said his ministry has set up a National Toll-Free Drug De-Addiction Helpline Number-1800110031 to help victims of drug abuse, their family and society at large and it is functional 24×7.

The ministry uses print, electronic and social media for creating awareness. The Ministry has started an online system for processing of grant-in-aid to voluntary organizations (VOs)/non-government organizations (NGOs) from the financial year 2014-15.

At present, approximately 400 Integrated Rehabilitation Centre for Addicts (IRCAs) are being run across the country with support from this ministry. and about one lakh drug/alcohol addicts are benefitted every year under the scheme.

State government officials, NGOs, national and international organisations working in this field, students from colleges and schools, professionals and experts and personnel from para military forces also attended the function.

The government has instituted a scheme of national awards for outstanding services in the field of prevention of alcoholism and substance (Drug) abuse from the year 2013.