Goa Institute of Management Hosts First Consultation on 

Drug Abuse 

In order to build a common understanding and a commitment towards the prevention of drug abuse among education policy makers, education practitioners, civil society organisations, NGOs, development partners and the private sector, Goa Institute of Management and Human Touch Foundation organised the first ever Goa State Consultation on Drug Abuse under the Pascoal & Maria Menezes Seminar Series with the theme ‘Fostering Collective Action’ on 31st Janaury 2020 at the Goa Institute of Management, Sanquelim Campus Poriem, Sattari. 

The consultation aimed to evolve an internal consensus of what needs to be advocated and what could be done to expand and further address the growing problem of drug abuse in Goa, promote and develop partnerships, and support the efforts of the government, NGOs and those addicted to drugs. Another goal was to develop a network that would collaborate at state level towards the creation of a state drug policy and state action plan to curb drug abuse. 

‘The subject matter needs an integrated effort with the involvement of all stakeholders, a well-articulated approach based on evidence and commitment of resources. A good state drug policy and a plan of action would address our concerns and provide a fresh and lasting impact of the government's effort to end drug abuse,’ said Peter F Borges before the consultation. Peter Borges is the founder of Human Touch Foundation, an NGO that works on primary prevention in drug abuse in the state of Goa. 

The speakers for the session were Shri Shobit Saxena IPS, SP, Anti Narcotic Cell, Goa Police, Mr Rajesh Menon, Resident Editor, Times of India (Goa), Dr Angelica Gomes (Goa State AIDS Control Society, Dr Shivanand Bandekar, Dean, Goa Medical College, Dr Joseph Pereira, Founder, Kripa Foundation and Mr Peter F Borges, Founder and CEO of Human Touch Foundation. The session was moderated by Dr Devasheesh Mathur, Assistant Professor at GIM. 

At the consultation, Peter F Borges went on to state that apart from a few NGOs, there is no agency to manage demand reduction programmes in Goa. There needs to be a budget allocated to counter substance abuse. Dr Shivanand Bandekar recounted instances of alcohol and drug addiction ruining young lives and warned students of GIM to resist peer pressure, while Dr Joseph Pereira spoke about the situation as a human problem and advocated the creation of a community of former addicts who had overcome their addiction and could serve as role models to vulnerable young people.

The consultation was a collaborative effort of the students of Healthcare Management led by Sushma Rajagopalan, who are executing the Give Goa Health Project with Human Touch Foundation. 

*Picture 2 credit: Peter F Borges