SAATHI: Curbing Sustance Abuse Amongst the Youth in Sikkim
The State is plagued by the problem of drug abuse, which has severe social and health repercussions. The smallest state has a higher than national average consumption of alcohol and tobacco — with a high prevalence of substance abuse among children in both urban and rural areas.
With an aim to limit substance abuse and generate awareness amongst students, parents, school administration and community about the health, social and economic implications of the substance abuse, Swaniti initated the SAATHI project.
Two schools in Gangtok were selected for the pilot project, with two teacher coordinators in each schools. 40 peer educators were selected from each school to conducts sessions on life skills and substance abuse were conducted for peer educators. Counselors were employed from two rehab centres.
Out of 152 students in the pilot schools who were reported to consume some form of substance, more than 40% reduced their consumption after the programme with another 28% abstaining completely and showing improved academic performance. The SAATHI program is now being scaled-up to 100 schools over 3 years.