Dr. Yusuf Merchant, Founder President, Drug Abuse Information Rehabilitation & Research Centre, one of India’s premier NGOs committed to substance abuse prevention strategies, including rehabilitation of drug addicts, implementation of drug demand reduction strategies and research in the causes and effects of drug abuse, has been awarded The Indian Excellence Award for Best Anti-Drug Campaigner of India for his exemplary contribution towards
Drug prevention and drug rehabilitation in the country.
The award seems to have come with much thought as Dr. Yusuf Merchant has selflessly dedicated his life to the anti-drug movement for over three decades. He has conducted seminars/workshops for Substance Abuse (3500) and HIV (537), the nation over for Police personnel (Jr. and Senior Management), Customs and Excise officials, students from graduate and post-graduate institutions, Non-Governmental organizations, labour union personnel, taxi and truck drivers, commercial sex workers among others. His awareness programmes have reached out to more than one million people thus far.
As the Head of the Drugfree India Movement, Dr. Merchant has devised a Specific Intervention Strategy for school children that has been implemented in over 1600 schools in Mumbai - called Drug Resistance Education.
Dr. Merchant initiated the School-based Teenage Education Program in 2002-2003. The above pilot STEP project was then adapted and finalized as a Lifeskills Training Programme for Social Awareness, including Alcohol and HIV Prevention, amongst 8th / 9th standard students.
Dr. Merchant has authored several books on narcotics, including a 515 pages anthology on Narcotics, published by the Commission of European Communities, and the recent best-seller on Life management, ‘Happyness: Life Lessons From A Creative Addict’.
This award is just another feather in the overcrowded cap of Dr Merchant and goads him to do more good. May his tribe increase!