Drug Menace

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    • The Supreme Court recently highlighted that drug abuse has gripped society and also demanded some modules that can translate as an Order to tackle the issue.

    More about the news

    • Court’s take on Drug menace:
      • Issue:
        • According to the court’s adviser in the case, it is a matter of demand and supply.
        • It acknowledged that inroads are made by the drug mafia in society, especially among youngsters, which pose a “grave situation”.
      • Court directive:
        • The apex court asked to draw up some common parameters and find a reasonable solution to combat the situation.
    • Government’s response:
      • Government said that Departments such as the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence are examining ways to plug loopholes and augment preventive mechanisms to counter the menace 
        • They are also examining a possible “narco-terror angle” in the situation.

    More about the drugs consumption and related issues in India

    • Most common drugs consumed in India: 
      • Alcohol, cannabis, opium, and heroin are the major drugs misused in India.
      • Buprenorphine, propoxyphene, and heroin are the most commonly injected drugs.
    • Impacts of Drugs Abuse
      • Wastage of economic potential: 
        • Leads to physical, psychological, moral, and intellectual decay of the youth of the nation.
      • Increase Crime related tendencies:  
        • Illegal production and distribution of drugs have spawned crime and violence worldwide.
      • Social Problems: 
        • Like the increase in domestic violence, increase divorce, degradation of ethical values among the society.
        • Diversion of resources towards drug abuse instead of communicable and other diseases.
    • Drug Trafficking in India:
      • For the last three decades India has become a transit hub as well as a destination for heroin and hashish produced in the Golden Triangle and the Golden Crescent
      • The two-way illegal flow of these drugs and chemicals not only violates India’s borders, but also poses a significant threat to national security.

    The gravity of the situation

    • Post-Pandemic scenario:
      • The court’s adviser in the case said the drug menace has taken a turn for the worse following the pandemic. 
      • Use of modern techniques to deal in drugs:
        • He also said that people involved, pushers and users, take to the dark web to deal in drugs. 
        • Courier and postal services are used to ferry narcotics.
    • Data on menace:
      • The distribution networks have become more systematic, organised and widespread. 
        • ?30,000 crore worth of narcotics have been seized in the past several months.
      • Reports by the Narcotics Control Bureau, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Comptroller and Auditor General and even the AIIMS, showed that a “sizeable population” was addicted.
    • Data by high courts: 
      • Several High Courts across the country have in the past taken cognisance of the shadow cast by the drug mafia on society.
      • In 2020, the Madras High Court highlighted the pervasive influence wielded by drug peddlers in schools, colleges and other public places.
      • The Punjab and Haryana High Court has been for a time hearing a case on the rampant drug problem in Punjab.
      • The Kerala High Court had directed the State government to establish campus police units in educational institutions.

    Government’s measures to curb drug menace

    • India has adopted a comprehensive approach of reducing supply as well as demand for narcotics and drugs. The approach comprises four elements:
      • first, enacting legislation;
      • second, ensuring physical security of the borders and coasts;
      • third, eliciting cooperation from neighbours and;
      • fourth, co-operating with voluntary organizations in the national endeavour to prevent abuse of narcotics and synthetic drugs.
    • Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985
      • The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act), 1985 was passed with the intent of controlling drug abuse and prohibiting the use, distribution, manufacture, and trade of drugs. 
      • The Act includes provisions for 
        • The cultivation of cannabis, poppy, and coca plants as well as the 
        • Manufacturing of psychotropic substances in connection with the cultivation of these plants.
      • Objective:
        • Its primary objective is to regulate the manufacturing, possession, sale, and transportation of drugs that are considered narcotics or psychotropics. 
      • Outcomes:
        • As a result of this act, 200 psychotropic substances are prohibited from sale to walk-in customers. 
        • Prescriptions are required to obtain these drugs. 
        • There have been multiple amendments to the law since it was established.
    • National Fund to Control Drug Abuse
      • The fund was created in accordance with a provision of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
      • The Act states that the fund would be used to combat illicit trafficking of narcotics, rehabilitate addicts, and prevent drug abuse.
    • Seizure Information Management System(SIMS):
      • For digitisation of pan-India drug seizure data, the MHA has launched an e-portal called ‘SIMS’ in 2019 for all the drug law enforcement agencies under the mandate of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS)
    • Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB):
      • It is vested with the power to charge individuals in cases related to the illegal use and supply of narcotics.
      • India is a signatory to various international drug-related UN conventions and the responsibility of implementation of the provision of these international conventions also lies with NCB.
    • Recently, the Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment launched the website for the Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan.

    Way ahead

    • Promoting science-based interventions is an absolute necessity if we are to reduce the demand and supply of drugs.
    • Prevention programs involving entities such as families, schools and the immediate communities are important in this regard.
    • Media can play a vital role in creating awareness regarding drug abuse.

    Source: TH