In a pivotal move to address the rising concern of substance abuse among students, the University Grants Commission (UGC) issued a directive on Tuesday, reaching out to all vice-chancellors of universities and principals of institutions. The directive urges proactive measures to involve students in the fight against drug usage, aligning with the goals of the ‘Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyan’ led by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, according to Hindustan Times reports.
Empowering students as primary stakeholders
UGC Secretary Manish Joshi emphasized the vulnerability of students and youth to the menace of substance use, designating them as primary stakeholders in the ‘Abhiyaan’ (campaign). The letter suggests that Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) take comprehensive actions at the institutional level, utilizing faculty, NSS volunteers, student clubs, and other avenues for regular interventions and activities focused on substance use prevention.
As per Hindustan Times reports, Universities and colleges are advised to establish common clubs dedicated to activities such as preventing ragging, promoting a substance-free environment, and adhering to safety measures. The UGC directive also included a web link providing a "list of suggested activities to spread awareness and information, education and communication (IEC) material along with best practices."
Student commitment to responsible behavior
A significant aspect of the directive involves a proposal for students to commit to responsible behavior during their academic tenure. The UGC provided a proforma attached to the letter, urging all students to sign a pledge refraining from the possession, use, sale, or distribution of alcohol, tobacco, or any psychoactive substances.
The ‘Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyan’ seeks to address substance abuse comprehensively, focusing on assessment, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and public awareness. The initiative underscores coordinated efforts to combat drug addiction, emphasizing reaching different sections of society, including educational institutions, communities, and individuals, to prevent and treat substance abuse.