Drug Free India, an Art of Living initiative
Drug-Free India, an Art of Living initiative

The nationwide Drug-Free India awareness campaign, a key step among The Art of Living's many initiatives in the field of de-addiction, has taken social media by storm with more than 80 (and counting) eminent personalities have already joined the conversation.

DFI has been trending on social media and has sparked an important conversation around the drug problem in India. The campaign has met with an unprecedented response as support continues to pour in for this campaign with 80 celebrities, business leaders, political leaders and iconic sportsmen having joined the DFI campaign already.

According to Social Bearing data, the campaign has received 82 lakh impressions, having engaged 4200 verified accounts on Twitter within just nine hours, and the movement continues to grow.

"When stress increases, man seeks to get rid of this stress and in this process gets into substance abuse," says Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder, The Art of Living, "When you train them in handling this stress effectively through spiritual tools like meditation, pranayama and Yoga then their perspective towards life changes totally. Otherwise, so many youths are destroying their lives by getting into addiction. To put an end to this menace, we are organizing this nation-wide movement called the Drug Free India."

Part of the initiative includes formation of SWAT (Social Wellness and Awareness Training) clubs that have been opened across college campuses that comprise of students, teachers, doctors and social workers who will spread the word against drug abuse throughout the year and organize programs that will act as preventive interventions for youngsters to stop them from getting into drugs in the first place.

Highlights of Art of Living's de-addiction work so far

• De-addiction centres in Bengaluru and Kolkata transformed the lives of more than 3000 drug addicts, created awareness among 2 lakh people and counting.

• School-based drug-use sensitization workshops in collaboration with AIIMS organized in four states across 1000 schools where principals, teachers, policymakers and administrators were sensitized about prevention of drug use. The program offers preventive strategies, life skill programs and The Art of Living Youth Empowerment Seminars, as a protective barrier against initiation into drug use.

• Reached out to 80 villages in Punjab and about 25,000 addicts underwent The Art of Living programs to fight addiction with regular follow-up for more than six months.

• Mobilized communities to participate and support campaigns to tackle substance abuse. Example, The Art of Living along with other NGOs and eminent citizens of the Chandigarh filed a Public Interest Litigation against the massive abuse of Typewriter Correction Fluid. Haryana High Court prevailed upon the Union Ministry of Health to issue a ban on its production, sale or storage

• In Kareli, inspired by The Art of Living, women sat outside the liquor shop in their village every day till eight in the evening, to rid their village of alcoholism and illicit sale of liquor. Eventually, the authorities relented.

• Youth Leadership Training programs with the focus on de-addiction conducted in Marathwada for 5500 participants, over 2500 of them have stayed clean, 50 of them grew to take official positions locally and 1 elected as Sarpanch.

The Drug Free India campaign will be launched in Chandigarh University on the 18th and at Guru Jambeshwar University, Hisar Haryana with the support of Government of Haryana on 19th February, in the presence of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder of The Art of Living, who will be joined by popular youth icon Sanjay Dutt, along with Kapil Sharma, and Badshah among others. An estimated 60 thousand students will attend the event on both the days and thousands will connect via live webcast who will take the pledge against drug abuse together.