Much of eastern Arunachal has been reeling under the pressures of opium addiction and cultivation for decades. The efforts of the district administrations in trying to curb the menace are to be duly applauded and admired. Regular reports state that several acres of poppy fields are destroyed by the administration working in sync with the police and armed reserved forces. Such steps will definitely go a long way to instil some amount of fear and apprehension in the minds of the cultivators of such plants. However, simply the burning of poppy fields is not enough as those addicted to opium will definitely find a way to procure the drug some way or the other. What is required therefore is the holding of de-addiction and awareness camps.
While many addicts who attend such camps come out anew, the work must not stop there. To merely conduct de-addiction camps is insufficient if the addicts find it easy to return to their poison. The issue is not just the cultivation of poppy and widespread usage of opium amongst the people but rather it is the easy availability of the product that must be addressed. If after the conclusion of de-addiction camps, people are able to easily procure opium than the holding of such camps becomes redundant and turns the whole exercise futile.
There is a need for all governmental agencies and NGOs to work in co-ordination with the common masses to weed out the problem from its roots. Law enforcing agencies are in dire need of better intelligence gathering tools and methods which would enable them to locate the core of the problem, and thereby eliminate it all together. Currently, the steps taken against the cultivation of the poppy plant is sporadic and unorganised. There is a need for a better, more efficient system to tackle the problem effectively.
Besides the need for better co-ordination and stricter system, there needs to be a change in the people’s mindsets as well. Holding awareness camps which are often mostly attended by students and research scholars who are not addicted to the ‘stuff’ does not help in any manner of speaking. For the problem that a community finds itself engulfed in, it is of the utmost importance that the community’s stakeholders come together to end the problem and help those who are bound and bogged down by their addiction.