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Friday, December 18, 2015

South Asian Sub-Regional Drug Focal Point Meeting - New Delhi (9-11 September, 2015)

The Sub-Regional Drug Focal Point Meeting of South Asia organized by Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Programme, Sri Lanka & Narcotics Control Bureau, India over 3 days (9-11 September, 2015) at Ashok hotel, New Delhi was a busy affair and witnessed hectic panel discussions and presentations activities mainly relating to drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction.

The conference started with a glittering opening ceremony in which the Hon’ble Home Minister of India Mr. Rajnath Singh was the chief guest and Hon’ble Minister of State for Home Affairs Mr. H. P. Choudhary was the guest of honour. Director General, NCB Mr. Ashok Prasad, in his welcome address, welcomed the dignitaries and participants of member States and gave a brief on the drug problem being faced in the region. Mr. K. Dorji, Secretary General Colombo Plan in his address, thanked Govt. of India and Narcotics Control Bureau for hoisting the International conference and hoped that the Colombo Plan Sub Regional Conference will be able to meet its objectives in the field of Drug Supply and Demand Deduction.

Hon’ble Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh in his address called upon the International community to work unitedly to fight the drug menace and exhorted all to say “No to Drugs and Yes to Life”. He also administered a pledge to the participants which included about 100 youths from SPYM to abstain from drugs and commit themselves to national building. The Hon’ble Home Minister also gave away Certificate of participation to two students that were recommended by SPYM.

At the end, Director General, NCB Mr. Ashok Prasad presented Mementos to the Chief guest and Guest of Honour while Mr. R.P. Singh, DDG(NR) NCB proposed a vote of thanks to all.
The opening ceremony was followed by a short interactive session of the youth with the Hon’ble Home Minister and Hon’ble Minister of State for Home Affairs and group photograph of all participant delegates from member States.

In the opening Plenary Session, DG, NCB Shri Ashok Prasad was elected as the Chairperson while Mr. K.Gamage, Executive Director of National Dangerous Drugs Control Board, Srilanka along with Shri V. Shashank Shekhar, Joint Secretary, MHA, India were elected as Deputy Chairperson for the 3-days Session. 

Director, CPDAP, Mr. Antonius Riva Setiawan presented a report on the Action Plan and implementation status of 3rd Drug Focal Point Meeting that was held in Chiang Mai, Thailand in Sept. 2014. Mr. Tay Bian How, Director, ICCE, Colombo Plan presented an extremely informative report on training and credentialing of addiction professionals in South Asian Countries. 

Thereafter Heads of delegations from representative countries namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka presented their country reports. Mr. R.K. Sahoo, DDG(ER), NCB presented India’s Country Report. The country reports highlighted the kinds of drug challenges facing each country, their response to the challenges and steps taken by them in the field of supply and demand reduction. The opening day session which was to end at 5 P.M., stretched on to upto 7 P.M. due to the active participation of member delegates.

The forenoon session of the second day was devoted mainly to expert presentations and panel discussions on drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction. It was Chaired by Mr. K. Gamage, Sri Lankan Delegation Head and Moderated by Shri Rajender Pal Singh, DDG(NR), NCB.

The round table discussions were more inter-active and gave a chance to speak to all delegates in smaller groups on the need to chart a road map for future drug related strategies by CPDAP.

The round table discussions were all the more important because recommendations made by each group were to form the basis of the finalization of the SR-DFPM statement and its presentation on the next day.
In the forenoon on the final day, all the participant delegates were taken to the Drug Treatment Centre at Ghaziabad which is run by AIIMS, New Delhi. At the treatment center, the delegates interacted with its Chief and staff and also spoke to the patients undergoing treatment there. The participants on their return appreciated the work being done at AIIMS Drug Treatment Centre.

The afternoon session of the final day was devoted to the finalization of SR-DFPM statement and its recommendations.

The Conference ended with the Head of Sri Lankan delegate offering to consider hosting the next SA-DFPM meeting in Sri Lanka. In his closing remarks, the Secretary General Mr. Kinley Dorji appreciated the active participation of all member delegates and thanked them for the same. He further thanked NCB and MHA for making excellent arrangements for the Conference.



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