National Fund to Control Drug Abuse

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    In News

    • Recently, the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry has recommended the use of the National Fund to Control Drug Abuse to carry out de-addiction programmes, rather than just policing activities.
      • The proposal is sent to the Department of Revenue under the Finance Ministry to decriminalise possession of “small quantities” of drugs, as defined in the NDPS Act.

    What is the National Fund to Control Drug Abuse?

    • About:
      • The fund was created in accordance with a provision of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, which had a nominal corpus of ?23 crores. 
    • Constitution of Fund:
      • Under the NDPS Act, the sale proceeds of any property forfeited, grants made by any person and institution, and income from the investments of the fund, go towards the fund. 
    • Purpose as defined:
      • The Act states that the fund would be used to combat illicit trafficking of narcotics, rehabilitate addicts, and prevent drug abuse.

    Drug Abuse in India

    • As per the National Crime Records Bureau’s Crime in India 2020 report, a total of 59,806 cases were lodged under the NDPS Act, of which 33,246 pertained to cases of possession of drugs for personal use, and 26,560 cases of possession of drugs from trafficking.
    • Most common drugs: Alcohol, cannabis, opium, and heroin are the major drugs misused in India.
      • Buprenorphine, propoxyphene, and heroin are the most commonly injected drugs.

     

    Major Reasons for Drug Abuse

    • Golden Triangle & Crescent: India’s porous borders adjacent to Golden Triangle and Golden Crescent areas allow illegal drug smuggling and make youngsters prone to drug abuse. 
    • Identity forming and Experimentation: Peer pressure and other psychological factors can cause teens to engage in risky behaviours, leading to substance abuse. Youth can get attracted to the glamour attached to drug-taking. 
    • Suffering and deprivation: People in the lower income group who cannot have an adequate amount of food, take drugs to sleep or relax.
    • Flaws in the legal system: The cause behind the drug menace is the drug cartels, crime syndicates and ultimately the ISI which is the biggest supplier of drugs.
      • Rave parties have been reported in the country where the intake of narcotic substances is observed.
      • These parties are orchestrated by the drug syndicates who have their own vested interests and social media plays a role in the organisation of such parties.
      • Ephedrine is a banned drug that is quite shockingly, being sold in the country openly. It is manufactured in private labs in India.
      • And lack of effective policing
    • Changing traditional societal values: The processes of industrialization, urbanization, and migration have led to a loosening of the traditional methods of social control rendering an individual vulnerable to the stresses and strains of modern life.
    • Naxal Belts: The lack of infrastructural facilities in the Naxal areas makes them go for illegal opium cultivation. 

    Challenges in preventing Drug Abuse

    • Easy availability of drugs: Rickshaw pullers, in market corners, etc sell drugs in the open market especially when it comes to substances like ganja.
    • Legally available drugs: Substances such as tobacco
    • Porous borders: Especially states proximity to GoldenTriangle (NE state) & Golden crescent (NW states)

    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.

    Steps Taken

    • 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)
    • Border Strengthening for surveillance:
      • Various other organizations have also been empowered under the NDPS Act for making drug seizures, like:
      • Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, 
      • the Border Security Force, 
      • Sashastra Seema Bal, 
      • Indian Coast Guard, 
      • Railway Protection Force 
      • the National Investigation Agency. 
      • It has been done for preventing cross-border drug smuggling
      • The forces are using the latest gadgets and equipment
    • 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

    Society based solutions: 

    • 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.

    Legal based solutions:

    • Strict action is required from police officers at the excise and narcotics department to curb the problem of drug menace in the country.
    • Radical political decisions like one of alcohol prohibition in Bihar may be another solution. When people do not exercise self-control, a state has to step in, as part of the Directive Principles of State Policy (Article 47).
    • Effective implementation of  Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS).

    International cooperation: 

    • Foster international cooperation for fighting the enduring problem of drug trafficking. The development of international accountability mechanisms and best practices would greatly increase interception capacity. 

    Source: TH