“Support Don’t Punish” New Drug Campaign in Sikkim

From pandemic chaos to the eruption Indo -China border tension our way of life has been changed in last three month. Though much hardship has been endured, this period of fear has certainly impacted the life of drug users which is also a significant portion of our society. Sikkim Drug Users Forum today came forward to support a campaign called ‘ Support Don’t Punish’ . ‘Support Don’t Punish’ is a global advocacy campaign organise each year on 26 th June to raise awareness of the harms being caused by the war on drugs. The campaign was created in 2013 to promote drug policies that respect human rights and protect public health to change laws and policies that impede access to harm reduction interventions and evidence -based services, and to end the criminalisation of people who use drugs.

In this scenario Sikkim Drug Users Forum also raised and demanded many issues on the state today. Prashant Sharma, Coordinator for Sikkim State for the aforesaid campaign and also member of Sikkim Drug Users Forum said ” Sikkim needs a better drug policy align the health focused approach to minimize the supply, demand and use of drugs and also to protect from the unfortunate overdose deaths, HIV, HIV B and C, TB infection, unemployment, etc.

He further stated ” previous government amended the law twice but failed to understand the health, human rights, and evidence perspective. The law has a provision for drug treatment but its focuses on compulsory drug treatment, law has a provision for social re-integration but doesn’t have resources, law has a provision for drug possession but people are still harassed and tortured and dragged to court. The government have a resources to arrest, harassed and put people who use drugs behind the bars but government don’t have a resources to build drug treatment centre, create employment, harm reduction services, micro financing for business, etc to support to build better and safe environment to the people who use drugs.

Sharma also criticised the exisiting law which deals with the drug user and peddler The Sikkim Anti Drug Act ( SAD Act) which is harming people rather than reforming people who have drugs problem, its a time to fix the drug law and policy which understands the human rights of people who use drugs and supports harm reduction and laws which is based on evidence, human rights and scientific based.

Report by Prakash, Special Correspondent Sikkim

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