An article that fits as a case study is a story from The Indian Express. “In Arunachal district, women lead the fight for the drug-free community” written by Tora Agarwala. A solution-oriented story discusses a successful campaign against drug abuse in Changlang, Arunachal Pradesh. Led by women, the initiative titled “Nasha Mukt Changlang”, also shows how the dedicated district administration achieved its goal with the support of other stakeholders.
Case studies are an important part of the UPSC civil services exam, especially the ethics paper. These case studies can also be very beneficial for value addition in the essay, GS mains and interview. This particular case study is relevant for GS I- Issues related to women, youth, drug addiction. Also, recently United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released its World Drug Report 2022 on World Drug Day. Use the case study wisely and enrich your answers. (Solve the MCQ given at the end of the article.)
“Every youth who destroy his life by drug addiction is a loss for our society”. For 25 long years, Kimcham Taiju’s husband in the Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh was addicted to ‘kaani’ which is opium in Arunachal Pradesh. Located in India’s eastern most periphery, Changlang of Arunachal Pradesh has long contended with an addiction problem. In 2021, a survey on substance abuse conducted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment identified the Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh as among the 272 most vulnerable in the country. This has led the district administration to try to find a solution to this big problem.
Drug addiction problem and the fight against it. To fight against this serious issue there is a need for administration, civil societies and individuals to come together- not just for treatment but also rehabilitation.
1. Addiction is a problem that has its roots in colonial times. “The British encouraged the Singphos (in the northern region of the district) to consume opium to subjugate them. In Tangsa (tribe) areas, near Myanmar, black salt was traded for opium. This led to addiction in the local population. Soon, other synthetic drugs made inroads”- Deputy Commissioner of Changlang.
2. Several government-sponsored de-addiction camps were carried out without much success in the past. Most of them were traditional in nature with less participation from other stakeholders, other than the government.
3. Changlang and the two neighboring districts of Tirap and Longding (colloquially referred to as part of the TLC belt) have long been caught in a cycle of drugs and insurgencies: militant groups trade opium for arms. Despite multiple crackdowns by government agencies over the years, opium continues to thrive, with plantations across these areas.
Drug addicts, district administration, women SHGs, gram sabha, NGOs, livelihood providers (for those who return after treatment), every individual etc.
1. Bottom-up approach: A change in approach from the traditional unsuccessful past. Differently formulated de-addiction programme which would be bottom-up, and in collaboration with the village. In a bottom-up approach, there is a willingness to solve problems by creating fluidly. There is no imposition of structure. Every individual is seen as a stakeholder and participates in the mission.
2. Role of SHGs and Gram Sabha: Deputy Commissioner directed the women to activate their Self Help Group (SHG) network, and hold a gram sabha meeting, presided by village elders, where the issue was discussed, a list of addicts drawn up, and the idea of de-addiction suggested. At the end of the meeting, a unanimous resolution was passed: an undertaking by the village to be “drug-free”.
3. “Nasha Mukt Changlang” initiative- Like ” Nasha Mukt Bharat” on a micro-scale, it targeted the entire village, instead of a single individual. The addicts would be sent for a month-long de-addiction programme, either at a pre-existing NGO-run health facility or a temporary one in the village, followed by post-treatment rehabilitation including government-sponsored livelihood opportunities as well as counseling sessions and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
As alternative livelihood options for those who have returned from the camps, the administration has provided recovering villages with poultry, piggery, and mushroom units to keep them busy.
So, “Nasha Mukta Chalang comprised” of (can be used in your answers and case studies solutions)
—Month long de-addiction programme at a de-addiction facility.
—Post-treatment rehabilitation and government-sponsored livelihood opportunities
—Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
4. Close synergy between local communities and authorities- Success is possible due to the close synergy between the local community and the authorities. As the administration is involved things were seen to be more “systematic”.
5. Initiative by individuals -The story mentions Kitnya. Kitnya is the administration’s point of contact on the ground for villages under two circles, Yatdam and Namtok. From persuading people to join the camps, to coordinating with local SHGs, to supervising the day-to-day running of the centers, Kitnya spends hours in voluntary service.
6. Treat the problem as social, not criminal- “We did not treat the issue as a law and order problem. With addicts, treat them as patients and not as criminals because addiction is a medical problem. They need patience and care.” Positive sign- reports of some who relapsed, post-treatment.
7. Pro-active role of administration- It is seen by the efforts of administration right from the time when a group of women approached the district’s then Deputy Commissioner, Devansh Yadav, in February 2021, seeking a solution. The administration and the deputy commissioner realised that out-of-box thinking is required. It was realised that the administration has to walk hand in hand with the SHGs, Women groups, gram sabha and the village as a whole. The Deputy Commissioner says, “Since everyone in the village is involved, it is easy to identify them and work with them again.”
Interesting narration ( fit for an essay anecdote)
Kimcham Taiju says, she made the “bravest decision” of her life: she signed up her husband for a drug de-addiction programme. One Sunday evening in March, Taiju and the other women of the village gathered at the local community hall, and decided that “enough was enough”. A list of 50 names was drawn up, and submitted for the district administration’s month-long drug de-addiction programme. That night, Taiju broke the news to her husband. “Jaabi ne? (Will you go),” Taiju recalls asking him. “Jaam de (I will),” was his answer. The men were sent 100 km away, to a de-addiction facility in Bordumsa town. The women say the plan worked because “no one was singled out”. “They knew they were going together,” says Taijong, in her 40s.
Beyond the case –
1. The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, or World Drug Day, is marked on 26 June every year to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving a world free of drug abuse.
2. This year the theme is “Addressing drug challenges in health and humanitarian crises”. The focus of the United Nations Office On Drug And Crime (UNODC) is to spread awareness about it so that a world free of drug abuse can be created. The motive is to fight off misinformation by sharing facts and by providing methods of treatment, prevention and care.
3. Recently, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released its World Drug Report 2022 on World Drug Day. In 2021, drugs accounted for 91 percent of all sales on the 28 major darknet marketplaces, up from 85 percent in 2019.
Initiatives of the Government of India against drug abuse
1. National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR) for 2018-2025.
It aims to reduce the adverse consequences of drug abuse through a multi-pronged strategy involving education, de-addiction and rehabilitation of affected individuals and their families.
2. Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act
To prevent and combat drug abuse and illicit trafficking, with an apparent emphasis on supply reduction.
3. The National Fund for Control of Drug Abuse.
4. The Mental Health Care Act (2017) has included alcohol and drug use disorders under its ambit.
The plan has been conceptualised as a framework to wean children away from drug abuse and stop the sale of drugs near schools and educational and childcare institutions.
Point to ponder
If you were a civil servant what will you do to tackle drug addiction among youth in your area on the social front?
Which of the following statement is true:
1. Theme for International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 2022 is Addressing drug challenges in health and humanitarian crises.
2. The Mental Health Care Act (2017) includes alcohol and drug use disorders under its ambit.
3. India is a signatory to Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988.
4. According to the World Drug Report 2022, there has been an acceleration in the use of cannabis in some areas of the world.
a) 1 and 2 b) 1, 2 and 3
c) 2 and 4 d) All are correct
Answer for the previous MCQ-