Rawalpindi-The Anti Narcotics Force organised a conference at the ANF Academy to formulate joint mechanism against narcotics and drug abuse in educational institutions, ANF Spokesman informed on Friday.

He said the conference was aimed to devise a mutual framework in collaboration with educational institutions to protect the youth from the menace of drugs. The conference was hosted by Major General Arif Malik, DG ANF, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Narcotics Control, Heads/ Representatives of Universities, Medical Colleges, Educational Institutions, Psychologists and Psychiatrists.

Imtiaz Ali Qureshi, Chairman Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (PEIRA) graced the occasion as guest of honour, he added.

DG ANF Major Muhammad Arif Malik highlighted importance of the forum in implementing the vision of “Drug Free Society” since the educators play the most important role in children’s’ lives as mentors, and cumulatively nation builders. He said that the magnitude of drugs as a threat to human security is far more serious than meets the eye. Drugs are silently killing far people than terrorism and rendering millions useless to the society; youth being most vulnerable to this menace. Drug abuse exacerbates juvenile crime rates and fosters low educational achievements. Government efforts alone cannot address drug-spread in educational institutions, as it is basically a societal setback emerged from feeble social-bond, fuelled by peer pressure, low self-esteem, stress, frustration, curiosity and communal surrounds.

He added that drug threat to students can effectively be addressed by dedicated and involved faculty, since students respond more to teachers than parents. He expressed that there is a dire need to devise a workable cogent strategy to counter narcotics prevalence, which is creeping gradually in and around our academic institutions. He emphasized that whole nation approach is inevitable for success in this challenging venture.

Force Commander Regional Directorate ANF North, Brigadier Mubashir Kazmi presented an overview of the prevalent drug situation environment. The presentation was followed by discussion on agenda points of conference, which mainly focused on devising joint mechanism, areas of cooperation, reasons of addiction, remedial measures, effective control and nomination of focal persons.

Chairman PEIRA appreciated the public awareness campaigns being undertaken by ANF in educational institutions to alert youth from hazards of drug uses. He also offered his full organisational support to beat the use of drugs among the students of educational institutions. He added that formulation of joint mechanism is the most effective way to counter drug abuse in educational institutions.

The participants proffered a number of invaluable suggestions that included; declaring educational institutions as smoke-free zone, incorporate security cameras for addict profiling, employ psychiatrist/ psychologist in institutions, confidential sharing of information with ANF, organise mentors training drug-workshops, launching drug-awareness campaigns in institutions, strengthen student-teacher, student-parents and teacher-parents bonds, incorporate drug-awareness lessons in curriculum, provide extra-curricular opportunities for students, ensure playgrounds / sports for students, medical screening of suspected students, role of student literary societies in anti-drug campaigns, inward vigilance of educational institutions and ANF support to address external drug threat in institutions.

Meanwhile, ANF held interactive session with ANF Youth Ambassadors to formulate mechanism against drug abuse.