Rawalpindi   -  Anti-Narcotics Force organised a conference at ANF Academy to formulate mechanism against use of narcotics in educational institutions and devise a framework in collaboration with the educational institutions to protect youth from the menace of drugs.Secretary Ministry of Narcotics Control Iqbal Mehmood, representatives of Higher Education Commission (HEC) and various universities, medical colleges and other educational institutions as well as psychologists and psychiatrists attended the conference while Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, chairman HEC, was the guest of honour on the occasion.DG ANF Major Gen Musarrat Nawaz Malik while addressing the participants highlighted importance of the forum in implementing the vision of drug-free society, saying the educators could play the most important role in children’s lives as mentors and nation builders.He said that the magnitude of drugs as a threat to human security was far more serious than meets the eye. “Drugs are silently killing far more people than terrorism and rendering millions useless to the society; youth being most vulnerable to this menace”, he added.He said that drug abuse exacerbated juvenile crime rates and fostered low educational achievements. The government efforts alone cannot address drugs spread in educational institutions as it is basically a societal setback emerged from feeble social-bond fuelled by peer pressure, low self-esteem, stress, frustration, curiosity and communal surrounds, he added.He said that drug threat to the students could effectively be addressed by dedicated and involved faculty, since students responded more to teachers than parents.There is a dire need to devise a workable cogent strategy to counter narcotics’ prevalence which is creeping gradually in and around academic institutions, he said, emphasising that whole nation’s approach is inevitable for success in this challenging task.Iqbal Mehmood presented an overview of the prevalent drug situation environment. The presentation was followed by discussion on agenda points of conference which mainly focused on devising joint mechanism, areas of cooperation, reasons of addiction, remedial measures, effective control and nomination of focal persons.Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, chairman HEC, appreciated the public awareness campaigns being undertaken by the ANF in educational institutions to alert the youth about hazards of drug uses. He also offered HEC’s support to beat the use of drugs among the students. He said that formulation of joint mechanism was the most effective way to counter drug abuse in educational institutions.The participants presented a number of invaluable suggestions that included declaring educational institutions as smoke-free zones, incorporate security cameras for addicts’ profiling, employing psychiatrist/psychologist in institutions, confidential sharing of information with the ANF, launching drug-awareness campaigns in institutions, strengthen student-teacher, student-parents and teacher-parents bonds, incorporating drug-awareness lessons in curriculum, providing extra-curricular opportunities for students, ensure playgrounds/sports for students, medical screening of suspected students, role of student literary societies in anti-drug campaigns, inward vigilance of educational institutions and ANF support to address external drug threat in institutions.