Promoting sport among the unemployed youth who have dropped out of school to avoid making use of drugs and falling into the hands of the drug cartels: This is the initiative implemented in Punjab from Navjeevan Charitable Society for Integral Development (Ncsid), the Social Service of the Diocese of Jalandhar, in collaboration with Caritas India.
Fr. Antony Madassery, director of Ncsid, is convinced that the
intervention of the Church contributes to implement positive change
among children and young addicts. Speaking to AsiaNews he said:
"Sport is a way to integrate these kids and let them resume contact
with society and the family, so they can become responsible people and
The project is called "Sport for development of young people" and
involves students, teachers, leaders of villages and local communities.
The social arm of the diocese has hired eight hockey coaches who are
giving lessons to 540 children and teens.
"We know that sports activities can change the lifestyle of drug
addicts- says the priest -, and are attracting more and more interest
among teens”. This is why the local Church is also creating a network of
organizations and associations interested in solving the problem of
drugs. "We hope - it is the goal - that young people can be brought back
within the social system. To reintegrate them, through love, affection
Punjab is one of the Indian states with the highest rate of opiate use.
Over the past 10 years it has always been at the top for the number of
drug addicts. The problem is so urgent that the state is the only one in
the Union in which a survey was carried out.
According to the Punjab
Opioid Dependence Survey, conducted between February and April 2015,
approximately 230 thousand inhabitants consume drugs. This means 836
people per 100 thousand, when the average in the whole of India is about
250 people per 100 thousand.
Drug abuse is fueled by a vicious circle: on the one hand, agrarian
crisis, unemployment and school drop outs lead to drug use; on the
other, addicts find it hard to integrate into society, becoming, in
turn, consumers and dealers so they can obtain doses.
These population groups are fertile ground for the drug cartels,
which perpetuate their trades. At the same time, the abuse is also the
cause of a large number of crimes: 7,524 drug related crimes between
2005 and 2014.
Fr. Madassery, " We must seriously address the issue. For this we need
the cooperation and the involvement of multiple actors. We are happy
with the fact that already there has been progress among the young