The launch of the Drug Rehabilitation Education And Mentoring (DREAM) programme in Ernakulam was held at Don Bosco Psycho-Social Support Centre, Palluruthy on 8 January 2021. The ceremony began with a walkathon flagged off by Col. Shaji (Commanding Officer, 21 Kerala Bn). Commencing and terminating at the Don Bosco centre, around 100 NCC cadets of the NCC Unit of Aquinas College Edakochi, and other volunteers, marched with placards to create awareness among the public about drug abuse.
The formal meeting was inaugurated by Mr. K. Babu (MLA, Thrippunithura). Shri. Vishnuraj IAS (District Sub-Collector, Ernakulam) officially launched the project with a talk— Say No to Drugs. He stressed the ill-effects of drug abuse among youth and wished the district team good luck on their venture to reduce the same. Fr. Thomas P D (District Director, DREAM), and Mr. V S Anilkumar (Excise Preventive Officer, Cochin) were also part of the programme.
Over the past three years, the DREAM programme has been run as a pilot initiative in the district, through which, the severity and extent of the problem have been understood. DREAM proved the neighbourhood’s pervasive substance abuse culture. There is a lot of interest and experimentation with gateway substances, and young people don’t have enough access to information, counselling, and rehabilitation facilities. In this context, the district team has designed prevention programmes to enhance protective factors and to reduce risk factors related to drug abuse.
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