The responsibility of society to offer moral support to the alcoholics to free them from addiction was stressed at a panel discussion on ‘drug abuse and illicit trafficking' organised by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) in association with the Suraksha and Iqraa de-addiction centres at the IMA Hall, here, on Thursday.

Introducing the topic, T. Abdul Nazar, project director, Suraksha De-addiction Centre, said the people should understand that social circumstances had a major role in a person becoming alcoholic.

“There are many youngsters who have been dragged into the evil by the over interference of parents on their childhood freedom,” he observed.

According to Mr. Nazar, the social stigma against the consumption of alcohol was undergoing changes with the diminishing of restrictions in the family and social circles.

“It is high time our educational institutions impart life skill education to the younger generation on how to resist the evil of drug abuse,” he added.

Role of family

Presenting a paper on ‘the treatment of alcoholics', Dr. P.N. Suresh Kumar, psychiatrist from Iqraa hospital, said the cooperation of family members was essential in giving effective treatment to drug addicts. “The de-addiction treatment becomes effective only when the addicted person identifies the persuasive elements and tries to keep away from such circumstances,” he added.

Dr. K.M. Abdulla, convener, Committee of Mental Health, IMA Kerala, observed that suicides and criminal offences were on the rise owing to the increasing number of drug addicts.

“The IMA is going to expand its social awareness programmes with the support of voluntary organisations against the spread of alcoholism,” he said.

Two panel members from the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) said only a helpful approach towards the alcoholics would help them escape the addiction, which was an “acquired brain disorder”. “We have altogether 110 active AA groups in Malabar to offer support to the needy persons,” they added.

C. Mohammed, preventive officer with the Excise Department, said the government would introduce drug awareness classes as part of school curriculum in the next academic year.

He said the department had submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Education in this regard.

Dr. K. Sathyanathan, psychiatrist from Suraksha De-addiction Centre, moderated the discussion. Dr. A.K. Abdul Khader, chairman, Anti-Quackery Committee, IMA, was also present.

Awareness programme

An awareness programme was held to mark the conclusion of a two-week anti-drug campaign steered by the IMA-Kozhikode branch. M.K. Raghavan, MP, inaugurated the valedictory.