Creating awareness through theatre

In a series of events to commemorate the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (June 26) two plays were staged by theatre groups, talking about the menace that drugs create in people’s lives through stories of Suraj and Rahul, in the city over the weekend.

Suraj is a teenage boy whose father sends him to a hostel to study and there in the wrong company of his friends, he succumbs to the pressure of using drugs and how it ruins his life.

The other play tells the story of a married couple where the wife returns to her maternal home after she finds out that her husband is a drug addict and a regular wife-beater. The
story concludes on a hopeful note with a psychologist explaining that drug addiction is a ‘disease’ and can be overcome through adequate treatment at de-addiction centres.

Both the plays drew applause from the mixed audience comprising school children, youth and adults. The plays tried to send out a strong message about the importance of awareness building and educating people about ill-effects of drug abuse. An audience member, Sarla Yodha said, “Community-based intervention is necessary for motivational counselling, identification, treatment and rehabilitation and through the medium of drama, the message enabled communication.”

As part of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the Day was observed at Mavalankar Hall. The gathering included prominent names like Thaawarchand Gehlot, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Vijay Sampla, Minister of State (MOS) for Ministry of Social Justice, Krishan Pal Gurjar, MOS of Social Justice and Empowerment, Anita Agnihotri, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, Christina Albertin, Representative of United Nations Office against Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and senior officers from the Central Ministries.

Speaking on the occasion, Gehlot emphasised ‘the need of preventive education’ while explaining that mediums of art and theatre should be put to optimum use to reach beyond the statistics. With nearly 2,000 million deaths globally, only one-sixth has access to treatment according to the UNODC annual report. The report also pointed out that while one-third of women are drug-users, only one-fifth women have access to treatment.  

Keeping these statistics in mind, the nodal Ministry for drug demand reduction efforts recognised it as a psycho-socio-medical problem which can be resolved through community-based approach. Gehlot told media persons, “Awareness building, community-based intervention and training of volunteers” is the three-tier strategy for demand reduction. The national toll free helpline launched in January this year, to help victims of drug abuse has apparently received positive response, informed the Minister.   

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