"The prevalence of opium production and abuse is rising alarmingly in states such as Manipur and Nagaland as more and more people in remote areas are taking up the cultivation as a means of livelihood and also for their own consumption," said Devendra Dutt, secretary of the Institute of Narcotics Studies and Analysis (INSA) while attending a seminar in Guwahati on Saturday. A survey on narcotics by the INSA at two border districts of Arunachal Pradesh -Anjaw and Lohit -has revealed that cultivation of opium is widespread as is addiction to the drug among people there.
An overwhelming 90 per cent of the villages in Anjaw had all families cultivating opium, while in Lohit, the corresponding figure was 63 per cent.
INSA, in collaboration with Don Bosco Institute, Guwahati, organized a three-day seminar on 'Drugs in the North East: Searching for Truth and Solutions'. The seminar was attended by delegates from various states and international participants who discussed the extent and prevalence of all kinds of drug abuse in the region, illicit cultivation of opium, production and trafficking in the region.
The discussion also took into account the developments taking place elsewhere in the world. Delegates from abroad shared their experiences in European and Latin American countries, which have endorsed a 'four pillars' policy - prevention, therapy, harm reduction and policing.