Prevention is better than cure!
In our opinion, generating awareness of the evils of addiction is essential for creating a drug free society. Accordingly we have been doing our bit in the form of street plays, awareness lectures, film shows etc. These are conducted at industries,addiction prone areas, cities and towns in Maharashtra State, educational institutes and at various other community platforms. We have conducted awareness programs for colleges, schools, truck drivers, teachers, factory workers, nurses, doctors, medical students and even religious leaders. We have staged over 2000 street plays till date. We also utilize a fully equipped awareness van for this activity. We have conducted training programs for police, industry, social science colleges, etc. We also closely co-operate with the police and the C.I.D. in curbing the illegal traffic in narcotic substances by sharing information with them. This information becomes accessible to us through our close interaction with the patients.
Here are some of our other activities :
Although we had various programs we felt the need for developing a special target-focussed program. Histories of many patients indicated that many of our patients have been exposed to drugs and nicotine from their adolescence.
Adolescence is a sensitive age and therefore a sensitive stage of life. As per some theories adolescence is a period of turmoil, marked by a desire for independence and quest for sexual identity and maturity. There are various psychological and physical needs during that stage. If such needs are not taken care of the youth and adulthood gets affected. Many studies indicate that drug abuse had roots in adolescence. Also, introduction to substance use during adolescence is a universal phenomenon. Therefore Sadbhav felt that the best strategy for a primary awareness program would be 'catching them young'.If such needs are not taken care of the youth and adulthood gets affected. Many studies indicate that drug abuse had roots in adolescence.
Thus was born Jidnyasa (pronounced 'jid-nyaa-saa'), an awareness program for the adolescents. Jidnyasa is one of the most comprehensive modules of adolescent sensitisation in mental health. It addresses various issues of adolescents. We felt that giving information only about drugs and their ill-effects is not sufficient. Sex education, information about HIV/AIDS, stress management, mental health status during adolescence and other topics need to be included too. At this age the target group is averse to preaching and advice. They need to be educated and encouraged to take their own decisions. To take appropriate and healthy decisions they need to be provided with information, at the same time information provided must be made interesting. So the program includes songs, games, role-plays and question-answer sessions.
In association with Stree Mukti Sanghatana, Mumbai, we have been implementing the program in twenty-seven schools run by Pune Municipal Corporation. We have trained more than sixty communicators from the society to implement the program. Drug awareness and related issues are communicated by volunteers of Sadbhav. Every year we reach out to about 7000 students in the age group of 14-16 years. The majority of the group hails from slum areas and or low-income families. Most of the audience comes from drug/alcohol-prone areas.