Goa, a land of sun, sand, sea, has over the decades transformed from being a pleasant and healthy tourist destination to that of the negative image as a hub for drugs.
This has become a scourge, whether in coastal areas, towns or villages. The scale of the problem is undeniably immense and worrisome. An overwhelming majority of addicts are between the ages of 15 and 35, with most of them unemployed and frustrated by unmet expectations in life.
There are several trends among users that are particularly worrying. Now most young abusers tend to use cannabis, methamphetamine and new psychoactive substances –assuming these are less harmful and addictive than ‘traditional’ drugs such as opium or heroin. Secondly, the increasingly liberal attitudes towards drugs are worrying. While most people hold a negative attitude towards drug abuse, a greater number of those aged 17 to 21 thinks that it’s all right to try drugs for a new experience. While alcohol abuse is a perennial problem in Goa, changing trend shows an increasing number of alcoholics are turning to drugs.
Substance abuse, which was largely associated with adults, has now trickled down to teenagers with a growing number of school children getting addicted to various narcotics in Goa. The trend of teenagers consuming drugs has suddenly risen in last two-and-half years.
Human Touch takes the lead in the prevention of substance abuse, provision of information and education,for young people. Guided by its mandate to protect young people, Human Touch ensures that young people are sensitized and informed.
Human Touch Foundation launched a mass awareness campaign “Get High on Life” during the Carnavalin February 2018.A creative decorated float with the theme “Get High on Life, Not Drugs” was paraded acrossPanjim, Vasco, Margao and Mapusa.
Subsequently, Human Touch Foundation launched a Short Film Competition on the same theme which evoked a good response. The films are now available on our YouTube channel and are used as a resource to create mass awareness on drug abuse.