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More girl students into drugs than boys
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, APR 1 (NPN)
Published on 2 Apr. 2010 1:00 AM IST
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An account shared by one client undergoing Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) revealed that the number of female students using oral drugs is higher than male students in Dimapur. It was also revealed that majority of the youngsters who used drugs experimented with them out of curiosity before getting addicted. These startling disclosures comes at a time when the Nagaland State Aids Control Society (NSACS) including various NGOs have been making efforts to spread awareness to contain spread of HIV/ AIDS among the Injecting Drug Users (IDU) and their sexual partners. It was also learnt that drug peddlers have shifted their bases from bordering towns of Assam to Dimapur where drugs are disposed off in a clandestine way. “The peddlers are non-locals and consumers are the local youth” another client averred.
The only silver lining has been the decrease in number of drug users to about 27,774 overall in the state (NACO NACP II estimate) and approximately 2000 in Dimapur. “There is certainly a downfall in drug abuse” asserted Longshi, a programme manager of the Drop In Center (DIC) of BYWC at Ghorapatti; one of the 14 DIC for IDUs in the state.
Longshi informed that the DICs were trying to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS by providing disposable syringes and condoms to the IDUs. However, he lamented that this has been misunderstood by the people. “People do have misunderstandings related to the Harm Reduction Strategy (HRS) and they often challenge us and question our programme” he said. Echoing similar point, Joint Director (TI) NSACS, Dr Bernice said that using HRS, where safe behavior and behavioral change communication were advocated, has worked as an important role in reducing the further spread of HIV among the IDUs. It may be noted that HRS refers to programmes and practices aimed at reducing the harm associated with the use of psychoactive drugs in people unable or unwilling to kick the habit.
The involvement of the NSACS also known Targeted Interventions (TI) has been successful up to an extent in containing HIV among both IDUs and their sexual partners. Moreover, Injecting Drug Users remain as the highest risk of HIV infection as they share equipments such as needles, syringes added Dr Bernice. She also claimed that as per information, the rate of HIV transmission through needle syringes has been reduced from 12 percent in 2007-08 to 5.8 percent in 2008-09.

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