Morung Express News
Kohima | May 23
A State level workshop on HIV/AIDS with law enforcement department was held at the Conference Hall PHQ, Kohima on May 23 with Dr. Bitra George, Country Director, FHI 360 New Delhi as the resource person and LL Doungel, DGP, Government of Nagaland as the chief guest.
The workshop organised by Kripa Foundation, FHI 360, NSACS and Nagaland Police Department was held to sensitize the police department of issues relating to HIV/AIDS and drug users.
The programme was chaired by Dr. P. Ngully, Chairman, Kripa Foundation who gave the introduction of the workshop. The overview of HIV/AIDS programme in the state was shared by Dr. Meguosilie Kire, Project Director NSACS.
Resource person, Dr. Bitra George who gave the introduction to FHI360 Project Sunrise and its objectives stated that the menacing issue of drug addiction is not just confined to the North East alone but spreading across the country with Punjab in recent news.
“Drug dependence is a chronic relapsing disorder and it requires proper prevention and treatment services,” asserted Dr. George who pointed out that the Injecting Drug Users (IDU) populations are the most marginalized and criminalized population in the society. Therefore, the need for the law enforcement officials to understand and look at the issue from a public health perspective and humane approach was highlighted.
The drug routes in North East India, drug administration in India, major agencies, drug control regulation (Narcotics Drugs and Pyschotropic Substances Act 1985) were also underlined.
Sensitisation is crucial because the police forces come in direct contact with the criminalized and marginalized sections of society which offers a unique opportunity for the police forces to play a facilitators role in reducing their vulnerabilities to the risk of HIV infection.
Dr. George further urged for the need of the law enforcement to work in coordination with the civil society and other stakeholders, to create a platform to exchange views on harnessing partnerships between law enforcement, public health and civil society organizations.
Further, giving a brief overview of Sunrise Project, Dr. George stated that the project aims to build institutional and human capacity to improve and scale-up the quality of comprehensive package of services for people who inject drugs in NE region of India.
DGP LL Doungel mentioned that that stigma revolving around HIV/AIDs and drug addiction has reduced over the years due to the realization that it is a social issue which needs to be dealt collectively because it is a disease which is transmitted within the society. “In recognizing that this is a social problem, the remedy has to be a social burden for everyone,” asserted Doungel.
The DGP also exhorted the police officials to treat the issue of IDUs holistically “How do you prosecute a man who is already a victim?” questioned Doungel expressing the dilemma where the person is already an offender but at the same time a victim. Doungel also advocated the need to address the problem within the police department where curriculums of related issues are being included in the training. Asserting that while sensitizing, it becomes very essential to understand the roots of the problems, Doungel stated that the problem of substance abuse goes further towards the domestic environment.
An open discussion on the action plans for the way forward in Nagaland was moderated by Dr. Bitra George where participants suggested on the establishment of a working group where ideas can be exchanged. This establishment can further be taken to the district level. Further, recommendations on exposure trips to international and national counterparts and studies of similar issues and success stories were further suggested.