Dharamsala: On 26th June 2021, International Day Against Drug Abuse, the Department of Health, CTA organized a virtual awareness session with school students and counsellors on Substance Use Problems in the Tibetan community in India. This session, led by Ngawang Nyima la from Zhidhey Khangsar, a Rehabilitation Center in Dehradun and Penpa Tsering la from Delhi University, saw a discussion around the following key points:
- Substance use disorder (SUD) is a disease just like any other disease. However, the people/society/family’s treatment of people suffering from SUD is different from those suffering from heart disease or any other ailments. Why is it so?
- Some risk factors for addiction problem includes early usage, lack of parental love and guidance, male, childhood abuse and neglect, existing mental health problems, peer pressure, and genetic. Protective factors include secure attachment relationship with parents or other primary caregivers, healthy coping means-time management, positive habit building.
- The stigma around people suffering from SUD inhibits people from sharing their problems and seeking help which further isolates them from the society.
- Ways to help your friend or family with substance use problems: listen to them, be there for them, encourage and validate their efforts, let them know you care for them. If you cannot help, then do not harm them at the least. Recovery from SUD is a journey rather than a destination.
- Ask the question “What happened to you?” instead of, “What is wrong with you?”.
As the session ended, all the attendees were moved by the inspirational recovery journey made by Mr Penpa Tsering la and his will to pursue further studies of the field to serve for a wider impact. Also for the insight on the field by Mr Ngawang Nyima la with 17 long years of experience of working at the rehabilitation center. The department believes that the awareness is one of the key factors in eliminating SUD in our communities as the solution begins from the awareness.