Burma bordering Indian
states face drug abuse and HIV
Guwahati, Northeast India
Burma bordering all Northeast Indian states are running under the menace of drug abuse consequential HIV
infection and AIDS. Disclosed by the Indian Health Minister of India, Anbumani Ramadoss recently, the
pathetic tale describes Manipur and Nagaland are
among the 'high HIV/AIDS prevalence' states, where as Arunachal
Pradesh and Mizroam are termed 'vulnerable' to the
threat of HIV infection and AIDS.
Manipur is reported to have the highest
density of HIV infected persons in the country resulting
another major challenge to the tiny state after prolonged insurgency. The
Manipur AIDS Control Society statistics reveal that the state has around 16,000
HIV positive people, where over 2000 victims have gained AIDS. Till 2005, over
350 people died of AIDS in the state.
"But there is a distinct difference in
the pattern of infection. While in 86 per cent of the cases of HIV infection in
other parts of India, the transmission route is sexual, in Manipur, about 72 per cent of
the cases originate from the sharing of needles and syringes by injecting drug
users," said an activist of Kripa Foundation, a
leading anti-addiction centre in Manipur.
The availability of heroin, primarily from Burma (with Thailand and Laos) and other illicit drugs are responsible for high
addiction rate in Manipur. Estimated drug addicts in the state are increasing
up to 50,000, where 20,000 have been reported to be injecting drug users.
The drugs like spasoproxybone,
ganja, alcohol, phensedyle, opium, cough syrup, nitrazepam, detroproxythene and buprenorphine are used by the addicts. The young one
normally starts taking drug orally and later shifts to injection with needles,
which are shared by many at a time that helps spreading HIV among the users.
"The absence of an institutionalized
intelligence framework within the police forces of the affected states like
Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram,
Arunachal Pradesh and Assam to tackle the well-coordinated narcotics trafficking
into the region from the Golden Triangle has been a boon for the thriving
racket," said a retired custom officer in Guwahati.
He also added that the frustrated youths of the region are vulnerable for HIV
infection and AIDS through the illegal drug consumption. If Manipur is
identified as a high-incidence zone for AIDS, Mizoram
has received newspaper headlines for wrong reason for loosing over 940 youths
to drug abuse since 1984.
The sleepy villages in the hilly terrain of Mizoram are witnessing rampant drug use that spreading the
menace of HIV/AIDS. The official figures confirm that over 1000 habitants are
infected to HIV. However, the real number will be far more that the statistics.
More that two percent pregnant women in Mizoram is
found HIV positive. "If the trend goes on like this, there is going to be
a big bang very soon," commented by an adviser to the Mizoram
State AIDS Control Society.
Though India and Burma decided to share intelligence relating to drug
trafficking through the porous border, it has yet to yield the expected result.
The ongoing socio-political turmoil in the Northeast and almost lawlessness in
Northern Burma under the State Peace and Development Council rule, have paved
way for the drug peddlers to make the trafficking on the rise in this troubled
zone. The Narcotics Control Bureau, the apex coordinating agency for collecting
and analyzing data related to seizures of narcotic drugs and psychotropic
substance, dissemination of intelligence and work in close cooperation with the
Customs, State Police and other law enforcement agencies also fall short to
meet the challenge due to lack of manpower to control the widespread narcotics
trade in this conflict zone, which is home to over 40 insurgent outfits. #