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Government launches helpline for drug abusers in India

Jan 08, 2015

The Indian government has taken an initiative to fight addiction of drugs and alcohol by starting a toll free helpline number.

Representative image of a mobile user. Photo: Naina Gautam

New Delhi: The Indian government has taken a significant step to help alcohol and drug abusers by launching a national toll free helpline number - 1800-11-0031.

The Social Justice & Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot launched the helpline with the technical support from a public sector enterprise. The ministry works towards reducing drug dependency and enhancing the rehabilitation of victims. The newly launched helpline would provide assistance six days a week between IST 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 pm.

According to a survey by the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry and UNODC, India has more than 70 million drug addicts, and the major reason seems to be easy availability and cheap rates. The low rates are essential due to the nation’s close proximity with drug areas in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The helpline was started to set in motion the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to eradicate the menace of drug abuse from the country and assist the existing victims in successful rehabilitation. At the third session of ‘Mann ki Baat’ his regular programme on All India Radio, he voiced his desire for a ‘drugs-free India’ to cure the ‘National Pain’.

A major north Indian state, Punjab, currently in news for increasing number of drug users has also with the help of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) initiated a survey to accumulate data on drug abuse. The state government puts the major blame on the neighbouring countries for supply of drugs.

The ministry has also assured about launching more drug assistance ventures in the future and the newly launched helpline would also be upgraded to be function round the clock based on the quality and quantity of response it gets.

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