The number of drug users in Meghalaya have increased five folds in the past five years, according to a survey.
As per the survey by Impulse NGO Network, the number of drug addicts in the state has reached 17,833 this year as against around 2,000 five years ago.
The figure excludes alcohol addicts which could well be a staggering number considering that alcohol related deaths among young males is very high, said the report which was released today at a convergence meeting of NGOs, UN agencies, government officials and security forces.
Recognising the gravity of the problem, the department of Social Welfare is working towards bringing out a State Policy on Drug Abuse in consultation with NGOs working in the areas of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS, officials said.
UNODC team leader Dr Pushkar Singh suggested that the detoxification centre at the Shillong Civil Hospital should be linked to rehabilitation centres run by various agencies to reduce the relapse rates.
Cristina Albertin of UNODC said the drug problem requires a comprehensive approach which has to be look at production and how drugs are pushed into relatively new areas and among new users and to counter such strategies.
She also pointed out the need to study the trend of drug use in prison and how that was being handled.