Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Sansad TV: HM reply on Drug Abuse problem

sansad_tv

 

HM replies to discussion under #Rule193:

  • He asserted that India has a zero-tolerance policy towards the issue of drugs. He said, countries promoting terrorism in India are using the profits from drugs for this and the presence of this dirty money also gradually hollows the economy.
  • HM stated that the profits being made from the drugs are utilised for terrorism as well.
  • The Government policy is very clear that those consuming drugs are victims, and one should be sensitive towards them and give victims a conducive atmosphere for rehabilitation.
  • HM urged all the States and UTs to come together to fight against the menace. He stressed the need to stop the entry of drugs through borders, ports, and airports. He added that the Revenue Department, NCB, and anti-narcotics agencies have to work against the menace being on the same page.

Issues with the current approach of tackling Drug Menace

  • All the available evidence shows, beyond any doubt, that punitive measures alone, no matter how harsh, do not achieve the goal of reducing drug consumption.
  • Worse, in many cases prohibition and punishment have disastrous consequences.
  • The stigmatization of drug users, the fear of police repression and the risk of criminal prosecution make access to treatment much more difficult.
  • Drug dependencies largely go untreated; inside most prisons there is no access to needle exchange, opiate substitution or other treatments.
  • HIV and Hepatitis C spread easily.
  • Large numbers of inmates take up drug use in prison, and many overdose shortly after release. Prison is simply not the answer to drug use and minor drug-related offenses. We need to find a better, more humane response.
  • Confronted with the disastrous effects of these policies, many countries are rethinking the repressive strategies that have failed to limit the supply and use of drugs and have often devastated individuals and societies.
  • There is a wide consensus in the world that the ‘war on drugs’ has failed and that it is time to open up a broad debate about viable alternatives and new solutions.
  • Instead of insisting on repressive measures that are, at best ineffective, at worst counterproductive, it chose a bold approach that favours more humane and efficient policies.

Portugal Model of Drug Policy

  • Portugal’s national drug policy represents a desirable paradigm shift in global drug policy.
  • Under the new strategy, the purchase, possession, and consumption of illicit drugs have been downgraded from criminal to administrative offenses.
  • A key concept underlying Portugal’s drug policy is prevention
  • Portugal is wisely investing in harm reduction and in forms of social regulation to reduce drug consumption. That is why it puts so much emphasis on dissuasion and prevention.
  • Portugal proves that decriminalization does not increase drug use. To the contrary, it has demonstrated that humanitarian and pragmatic strategies can, in fact, reduce drug consumption, addiction, recidivism, and HIV infection.
  • Preventive measures may only be effective when they are systematic and not onetime actions

Government’s work:

  • It constituted Narco-Coordination Centre (NCORD)in November, 2016 and revived the scheme of “Financial Assistance to States for Narcotics Control”.
  • In 2017, the government approved new Reward Guidelines with increased quantum of reward for interdiction or seizure of different illicit drugs.
  • For effective coordination with foreign countries, India has signed 37 Bilateral Agreements/Memoranda of Understanding.
  • Narcotics Control Bureau has been provided funds for developing a new software i.e. Seizure Information Management System (SIMS) which will create a complete online database of drug offences and offenders.
  • The government has constituted a fund called “National Fund for Control of Drug Abuse”to meet the expenditure incurred in connection with combating illicit traffic in Narcotic Drugs; rehabilitating addicts, and educating public against drug abuse, etc.
  • The government is also conducting National Drug Abuse Survey to measure trends of drug abuse in India through Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment with the help of National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre of AIIMS.
  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has drafted National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (2018-2023)for addressing the problem of drug and substance abuse in the country, dumping a long-pending draft policy on the matter.

Conclusion

Recognition of the need to respect human dignity, understand the life choices and social circumstances of others, and uphold the constitutional right to health lay behind the change of approach toward drug consumption.