Authorities in Goa were urged yesterday to take drastic action to combat growing alcohol and drug abuse in the western state.
In a statement coinciding with the U.N.’s International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking, Goa’s Diocesan Council for Social Justice and Peace yesterday demanded curbs on the sale of alcohol and illicit drugs.
The drug menace has spread inland from the coastal belt, said the council, the social wing of the local Catholic Church.
Father Maverick Fernandes, the council’s executive secretary, said the state’s failure to impose curbs on illicit drugs and consumption of alcohol has been a major cause of trauma in families and resulted in a number of drug-related deaths amongst tourists.
“Unfortunately the state is in the news for being a haven for drugs and for police links to the drug business,” said Father Fernandes.
In the name of tourism, the government has been “promoting intoxicants,” he said, adding that the abuse of alcohol and drugs was affecting individual performances and destroying family peace.
The rising number of road accidents, drownings and anti-social activity resulting from alcohol and drug abuse is earning a bad name for the state and making life more difficult for ordinary citizens, he said.
He criticized the government and the private sector for only looking at profit while failing to provide sufficient support systems for the recovery of addicts.
The council demanded more detox centers and the setting up of dedicated help-lines and after-care centers for guidance and therapeutic support.
The Church also urged the public to work towards discouraging the consumption of alcohol at public functions and promote a healthy culture.
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