Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has ordered a comprehensive statewide public awareness de-addiction campaign, in preparation for the upcoming assembly elections in Chhattisgarh.
Substance abuse and addiction have become major issues in the state, negatively impacting lives, particularly among the younger generation. Incidents of crimes committed under the influence of alcohol and other substances have also been documented and reported.
With the pressure to deliver on the 2018 poll promise, the chief minister has directed the chief secretary to seek collaboration from social organizations and other stakeholders involved in the fight against addiction across the country.
The chief minister stressed the importance of developing a detailed action plan through consultations with prominent individuals and organizations actively engaged in drug de-addiction efforts nationwide. He instructed the Social Welfare Department to present a comprehensive plan for a de-addiction awareness campaign within one month.
CM Baghel considers addiction a social evil that leads to severe health problems and untimely deaths. He directed Chief Secretary Amitabh Jain to conduct a large-scale campaign to protect society from addiction. Baghel emphasized the need for people to connect with the cause and actively participate in the campaign against addiction, stating that without public support, the de-addiction drive cannot succeed.
He expressed deep concern over the alarming rise in addiction among the younger generation and stressed the importance of organizing awareness seminars in higher secondary schools, colleges, and universities.
Regarding the previous efforts to implement a liquor ban as promised in 2018, the government formed a special committee to review the situation in other dry states and analyze the possibilities and consequences of such a ban. Baghel clarified that he does not have the courage to impose a sudden liquor ban at the expense of people’s lives.
Citing the unfortunate incidents during the COVID-19 pandemic, where people turned to consume sanitizers when liquor was unavailable, and the deaths caused by the consumption of spurious liquor in Bihar, Baghel explained his decision to focus on an extensive de-addiction campaign rather than an immediate ban on liquor. He emphasized the need to address substance abuse comprehensively, including drugs, weed, gutkha, and other harmful substances, in order to effectively combat these social evils.
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