Seminar on NALSA (Legal Services to the Victims of Drug Abuse and Eradication of Drug Menace) Scheme, 2015.

To ensure effective implementation of NALSA (Legal Services to the Victims of Drug Abuse and Eradication of Drug Menace) Scheme, 2015, the Bihar State Legal Services Authority in a collaboration of BIPARD and Panchayati Raj Department, Government of Bihar organized one day Seminar on 17 March, 2016 in which PLVS from all the districts of Bihar, Representatives of NGOs, Officers of Health Department and of Panchayati Raj Department, Govt. of Bihar, Medical Officers and others participated. The participants were also trained on a training module on Drug Abuse prepared by the Panchayati Raj Department, Govt. of Bihar.

The event was inaugurated by Hon'ble Acting Chief Justice of Patna High Court and Patron-in-Chief Mr. I. A. Ansari. In his Keynote address His Lordship the Acting Chief Justice said that it is no longer time for us to sit back and watch but we have to buckle up and work towards eradication of drug menace. He further elaborated on NALSA Scheme and said that the Scheme has gone ahead of Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substance Act of 1985 as the Act speaks only about prevention and punishment whereas the Scheme deals with prevention, curative action, de-addiction and rehabilitation of drug victims. His Lordship further emphasized the need for awareness against drugs in the educational institutions and its awareness amongst Youth as they are more prone to follow others and emulate behaviour of a drug addict. He said that we need not become complacent if there is no drug victim in our family today as the same can not be said about our generations to come. This can only be ensured by eradicating spread of drug by its root. His Lordship also spoke about the faulty system of prosecution where there is abysmally low rate of conviction due to hostile witnesses and a general tendency in people of not speaking truth. He stressed upon the need of drugs free society.

In his address Hon'ble Mr. Justice Hemant Gupta, Judge, Patna High Court elaborated upon the international conventions on drug abuse, NDPS Act, 1985 and said that there are four kinds of offenders we find in it i.e., cultivator, supplier, seller and consumer. His Lordship made a detailed power point presentation about kinds of drugs, of their effects, reasons of addiction and step by which a victim can be de-addicted, prevention and their rehabilitation. He also emphasized on behavioral changes and his resistance to accept that he has become an addict. He said that to divert the attention of youth from drug there can be arrangements of games and Sports activities and competition etc. His Lordship also stated the role of the State Legal Services Authority and DLSA in spreading awareness about the drug menace through documentaries, distributing brochures, through Electronic Media, talk shows where victims can share their stories. He also emphasized on the need for special programme in this regard. Quoting Bobb Reley, His Lordship concluded that for the security of our future we must fight with the drugs, now and today.

In his address Hon'ble Mr. Justice Ramesh Kumar Datta, Judge, Patna High Court and the then the Executive Chairman, Bihar State Legal Services Authority spoke about the NALSA Scheme and elaborated the role of Special Cell constituted under the scheme in all sub-divisions of state comprising Judicial Officer, Medical Officer, Forest Officer, Young Lawyers, Social Workers, PLVs and a representative of NGO etc. He also stated that the special cell has to first develop a Data base of the area where cultivation is held and stated other roles of the special cell. He stated that the addiction is amongst men and women as well and the state of Bihar has under taken the initiative to have a de-addiction center in each district of Bihar which appears to be a pioneering work by any state of this country. He said that the special units will visit the de-addiction centers to ensure that they are being run in accordance with the laid norms and that the rights of victims are respected and if any violation is observed, the same is reported to SLSA. His Lordship also under scored the need for awareness about the Scheme amongst victims and their family. He further stated forming Legal Services Club in educational institution will help check addiction amongst youth.

In the technical session of the seminar Senior Medical Officer of AIIMS Patna, the representative of Excise Department and Social Welfare Department, representative of an NGO DISHA running a de-addiction centre, Officer of Panchayati Raj Department, a Psychiatric Expert and others addressed the session. The vote of thanks was given by Sri Sudhir Kumar Rakesh, IAS, Director General, BIPARD.