A movement appears to be building up Himachal Pradesh to encourage people come up for voluntary blood donation and also against drug abuse. In fact, the Blue Ribbon has emerged as a symbol of the drive against drugs. This was evident when last week Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal while inaugurating the “1R” signature drive against the drug abuse and “Just 300 ml” campaign to strengthen voluntary blood donation movement in the state announced that the state government would take the drive launched by few spirited voluntary organisations to its rightful conclusion.
Photo: Amit Kanwar
The Ridge as such witnessed a historic event when YES (Youth Enlightening the Society) launched the “1R” signature drive against drug abuse and “Just 300 ml” blood donation campaign. A voluntary blood donation camp was also organized on the occasion in association with Umang Foundation. Voice of Himachal and Rotary Club also supported the programme. In total 103 persons, including a large number of youth, particularly girls, came forward to donate blood. One street play to sensitize people about voluntary blood donation also filled colour in the programme.
The chief minister, who was first to put his signatures against the drugs, said, “The future of any country depends on its youth. Youth is the real strength of the nation. But many negative forces from within the country and outside always make efforts to misguide the young generation and make them easy prey to drugs. It has always been a matter of great concern for the government and the society. Drug trafficking is a major challenge before us.” While appreciating the efforts being made by YES and other organizations in the state to fight drug menace, he assured full help from the government in this regard.
On the suggestion of Akarshan Chauhan, president of YES, Dhumal announced that blue ribbon (like red ribbon in the campaign against AIDS) will be used as the official symbol in the fight against the drugs in Himachal Pradesh. Dr RC Sharma, professor and head, Department of Psychiatry at Indira Gandhi Medical College, put first badge of blue ribbon on the CM’s chest. Akarshan Chauhan and Dr Sharma also apprised the chief minister about various aspects of drug menace in the state. They said the innocent school children are the main target of drug traffickers. Akarshan Chauhan said, YES members would visit schools to make students aware of this abuse.
The chief minister appealed to the people, particularly the parents of young children, to be vigilant and monitor the behavior and activities of their wards to ensure their distance from the drug abuse. He asked the police officers to take strict action against the drug mafia and put them behind the bars.
Ajai Srivastava, associate professor of journalism at Himachal Pradesh University and founder president of Umang Foundation, assured the chief minister on behalf of YES and his organization for their full cooperation in implementing the government policies and programmes to tackle drug menace and promotion of voluntary blood donation. He said, “In order to keep professional blood donors away from the state, we must encourage voluntary donations. Otherwise we would not be able to check the sale and purchase of blood as this ill practice has become a menace in some other states.” He also thanked the chief minister for encouraging people to support the cause.
There was a great enthusiasm among the youth to donate blood in the camp. Ms Madhusudan donated blood for 91st time and Atul Tangri, president of Rotary Club for 24th time. Vipin Kulvi, coordinator of the camp and secretary of YES said, “It was a great success as 103 persons donated blood. Our effort was not only to collect blood but to sensitize people about the voluntary blood donation. Our street play on the theme of blood donation left good impression on the masses and motivated many to join the campaign.” He said YES has planned to organize voluntary blood donation- cum- sensitization camps in the far flung areas of Kinnour, Shimla and Solan districts.
AN Sharma, commissioner of Shimla Municipal Corporation, JS Rana, deputy commissioner of Shimla, RM Sharma, superintendent of police and Varun Rattan Singh, founder of Voice of Himachal, were among those present on the occasion.
In a private drug and alcohol treatment center, patients are handled not only with utmost care but also respect, since addiction is a disease, and addicts are rarely able to defeat addiction by themselves.