Concerns on rising drug addiction at Iskcon festival

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Through sand art, rock band, fusion music and drama, Iskcon on Sunday sent out a message of addiction-free India at an event that saw the attendance of 12,000 youth.

The mega youth festival, UDGAAR, organised by Iskcon Youth Forum fetched it a world record for the “Largest Addiction Awareness Festival” by World Book of Records, London.

As concerns poured on regarding large youths getting addicted to substance rather than computer and internet, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan present on the dais said that the government is committed to not only protect the youth but also to positively engage them.

Reeling out the figures of rising addiction among youth, Veerendra Mishra, Director- National Institute of Social Defence, said that 16 crore Indians consume liquor out of which 5.5 lakh have already become addicts.

Mishra said that after liquor comes the number of those addicted to cannabis and Opioids.

He also said that heroine consumption has increased many folds and only 5% of the total amount of heroine available in market is seized while the rest is being consumed.

Mishra called for the reduction of prevention focus and treating the addiction as a social justice issue and not as that of criminal justice.

Sundar Gopal, Director- Iskcon Youth Forum & UDGAAR  Festival, said this festival is a part of its commitment to tackle an epidemic that is making youngsters hollow.

The event based on the theme 'Anti-Addiction: Making India Addiction Free', was a blend of modern entertainment like Hip-Hop by ‘Feel Crew’ and fusion music by “Madhavas Rock Band” and ancient wisdom of India delivered by monks.

The event was marked by enthralling performances including by world-renowned sand art performer Nitish Bharti that showcased the struggle of a young addict and inter college Addiction Awareness Quiz Competition, hosted by RJ Ginnie from Radio City.

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