Vol.No. XLIV 12 June 2000 R.No. 4
(22 Jyaistha 1922)
This service seeks to outline the nature, frequency and magnitude of drag abuse and associated socio-cultural and structural factors.
RESEARCH, REFERENCE AND TRAINING DIVISION
(Ministry of Information and Broadcasting)
Addiction to a drug has always been enormously harmful to the users, to the society and finally to the nation. The problem of drug abuse has emerged as one of the vital concerns of the human race with far-reaching socio-medical and economic consequences. The process of industrialisation and consequential urban drift, stresses and strains of modern life have rendered individuals more vulnerable to substance abuse than ever before. Addiction to drugs does not merely affect the physical and mental health of the individuals involved, it also disrupts family and social relationships. An addict is not only a loss to himself but also to society as a productive individual and to the nation as an asset for development. This trend is most ominous for a developing country like India, which is still struggling to overcome its basic problems of poverty, hunger and disease.
The use of dependence-producing substances, in some form or the other has been going on since time immemorial. In India too, the use of alcohol, opium and cannabis has been known for long, but the consumption of drugs like heroin, hashish, LSD, etc., is altogether a new trend. Within the last decade or so, the extent of usage of such drugs in various segments of society has acquired alarming dimensions. Today, India is no more merely a transit country for illicit trafficking in drugs from ‘golden triangle’(Mynmar, Thailand and Laos) but it is also becoming a significant consumer in the global scenario.
The use of psychoactive substances for obtaining relief from mental tension or physical discomfort or for pleasure or new experience is an old one. Drug use in form or another has been a common feature of most cultures throughout history.
The problem of drug dependence in India presents certain features which are different from those obtaining in the developed western countries, because the principal drugs of dependence such as cannabis, opium, cocaine and alcohol have been in use for a long period.
The intoxicating properties of certain cannabis preparations were probably known in India more than 2,000 years ago. The earliest reference to it is in Atharva Veda, a religious text believed to belong to the period 2000-1400 B.C. In India, consumption of alcohol was looked down by society specially during the Buddhist era. Alcoholic drinks are prohibited among Muslims, and certain caste Hindus and Jains. Attempts at prohibiting alcoholic drinks were made during the Moghul period with the Islamic influence.
REASONS FOR DRUG ABUSE
Drug abuse is not a law and order problem as imagined by many social workers and administrative authority. The addict does not simply use drugs, but develops a pathological craving for them. The desire is so strong that the addict must have his drug at all costs. It is more of a psycho-social problem than anything else.
In urban areas, drug use seems to be an indulgence of children from the middle, upper middle class and high economic status families. Drug use can be accounted for as a trend towards modernisation, as a part of risk-taking and normal exploratory behaviour. The crucial contributory factor leading to it seemes to be the loosening of parental control, partly due to break up of the joint family and partly due to the situation of both parents working. There is also a high correlation between smoking and drinking by parents and the child’s drug use. It has also been suggested that this behaviour is in part due to mobility of men and ideas.
Many sociologists conceive addiction as arising from the discrepancy between critically approved goals for achieving success and status and the perceived or available means for achieving them. The resulting conflict or frustration forces the individual to resort to some adaptive device to get rid of the tension-drug use is conceived as such a device. The addict or user solves his problem by withdrawing from these situations and taking refuge in the imaginary world of drugs.
W.H.O. defines that Drug addiction is a stage of periodic and chronic intoxication detrimental to the individual and to society, produced by the repeated consumption of a drug (natural or synthetic). Its characteristics include:
From the above definition it is evident that physiological and
psychological need of the drug is inherent in drug addiction. The need is so overwhelming that the craving for the addiction forces the individual to acquire it by any means.
Thus there are two basic strategies in dealing with the problem of addiction. One is legal and the other is therapeutic. The legal view is chiefly concerned with the effects of drugs that are regarded detrimental to the individual and the society. Drugs are, therefore, labelled as illicit items and the user becomes an offender in the eyes of the law and is subjected to prosecution and penalisation. Both the illicitness and the punitive patterns maintain public condemnation of the users. Further, the advocates of the legal or punitive approach argue that crime committed by addicts are a direct result of the drug habit.
PROGRAMMES FOR PRIMARY PREVENTION
Programmes have been initiated in the areas of alternatives to drug use, voluntary or governmental. Parent-teacher associations have yet to take roots within the school systems in the country; hence there is a great need for specially designed educational programmes for children. The same holds true for school health and education programmes. Some of the following steps can be taken for primary prevention of drug abuse:
MEASURES TO TACKLE THE PROBLEM: GOVERNMENTAL EFFORTS
In order to tackle the problem of drug abuse a two-pronged strategy of supply control and demand reduction has been adopted. While the aspect of control of supply is taken care of by the Narcotics Control Bureau, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has the responsibility of looking after the educational and rehabilitation aspects of drug addicts.
MINISTRY OF SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EMPOWERMENT
Drug Abuse and Alcoholism being a psycho-socio-medical problem, the approach of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is to provide a whole range of services including awareness generation, identification, treatment and rehabilitation of addicts through voluntary organisations with a view to reducing the demand for and consumption of alcohol and dependence producing substances, the thrust is on preventive education programmes and on reintegration of the addicts into the mainstream of society. While the Government of India provides financial support to the organisations for institutionalised activities, the stress is now on mobilization of community resources and greater community participation through setting up of Treatment-cum-Rehabilitation and Drug Awareness, Counselling and Assistance Centres for awareness building, screening of addicts, counselling to addicts and their families, referral of hardcore addicts and follow-up assistance to former addicts. To give wider coverage, provision of de-addiction camps has been made in the urban and rural areas where Treatment-cum-Rehabilitation centres have not yet been established but there is need for the service.
WORKPLACE PREVENTION PROGRAMME
In order to encourage work place prevention programme, financial assistance up to 25 % of the expenditure for the setting up of a 15-bedded or 30- bedded Treatment-cum-Rehabilitation Centre is provided to the industrial units/enterprises having at least 500 workers on their rolls.
AWARENESS GENERATION PROGRAMMES
There is still much ignorance in society about the ill effects of drug abuse on the individual, the family and the community. A deliberate decision has, therefore, been taken by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to step up awareness generation programmes which include holding of seminars, conferences, workshops, corner meetings, essay/debate competitions, publicity through mass media, etc. Several radio and TV Programmes have been launched and films produced to create awareness about role of parents, teachers and opinion leaders in the prevention and control of alcohol and drug abuse.
THRUST AREAS FOR THE FUTURE
Special attention is being given to tackle drug abuse problem amongst socially and economically vulnerable groups such as street children, commercial sex workers, destitute women, etc. A project on Reducing Risk Behaviours and HIV/AIDS/STD drug abuse among street children has been undertaken by the Ministry, United Nations Drug Control Programme, UNICEF, WHO, NACO and ODA. City-level plans have been prepared for the cities of Mumbai, Hyderabad, Calcutta and Delhi and a National Action Plan has been formulated.
In consonance with the directives of the Prime Minister of India, special focus is given to the Drug Abuse Prevention Programme in the North-East keeping in view the enormity of the problem.
As a result of the impact of the implementation of the programme, the number of Drug Addicts registered in these Centres were 2.26 lakhs in 1998-99 of which about 92,356 were detoxified. During the year 1999-2000 (up to September 1999) 1.46 lakhs drug addicts were registered and 62,812 detoxified in these centres.
The ultimate goal of treatment of substance abusers is to help them to re-enter society to lead healthy and productive lives. In other words, the objective is to achieve "Whole Person Recovery" (WPR) which emphasises physical, emotional and mental rehabilitation culminating in a physically, socially and economically self-dependent life for the recovering addicts.
NARCOTICS CONTROL DIVISION
Narcotics Control Division in the Department of Revenue facilitates and coordinates the functioning of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN) and the Chief Controller of Factories (CCF). Department of Revenue is the nodal Department responsible for the administration of the
Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1986 (NDPS Act, 1985) and implementation of international conventions, treaties, bilateral agreements and MoUs. Narcotics Control Bureau which was created on 17.3.1986, acts as the nodal agency for intelligence collection, dissemination, enforcement and coordination with various Central and State enforcement organisations and international, regional and foreign enforcement agencies. CBN has been primarily given the responsibility of licensing and supervising opium cultivation and thereafter, procuring opium from the cultivators.
During the year 1999-2000 (up to November), a total quantity of 45,347 kg of prohibited narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances were seized in the country and 8,592 persons including 59 foreigners were arrested for various offences under the NDPS Act. Besides, eleven clandestine laboratories manufacturing Heroin and Morphine were also dismantled during the period. Similarly, seizures of sensitive precursors, i.e., Acetic Anhydride and Ephedrine of 2,718 litres and 175 kgs (up to November) respectively have been made.
Operations against illicit ganja growth/wild growth resulted in the destruction of ganja plants over an area of 44 acres during the year. During the year illicit poppy cultivation spread over 613 acres was destroyed.
NCB’s contribution to the prevention of drug trafficking and diversion of precursor chemicals into illicit channels has also been internationally acclaimed. During the year 1999-2000, NCB organised 6 training programmes in drug law enforcement for personnel of various enforcement agencies. Central Bureau of Narcotics arranged two UNDCP-funded training workshops on precursors at Colombo for operational staff from Central Excise, Custom, and State Police. CBN also organised UNDCP-funded informal consultations on precursor at Male in which Customs authorities from sensitive ports in the Southern States participated and exchanged information with Maldivian authorities.
UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL DRUG CONTROL PROGRAMME
United National International Drug Control Programme controls illicit trafficking of drugs. The Organisation was established in 1990. It has its headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
The Commission is the main policy-making body concerned with international drug control within the UN System.
The specific functions attributed to its is by the provisions of the international treaties on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. By virtue of the same treaties specific functions in the implementation of the international conventions are also entrusted by the treaties to the UN Secretary General. It plays an important role in complementing the international treaty systems by financing programmes and projects aimed at supporting international and national drug control which are executed by the Division of Narcotic Drugs and the specialized agencies of the UN family. It looks after the social reintegration of drug addicts.
UNDCP AND INDIA
UNDCP has been active in the last few years in India supporting drug demand reduction, law enforcement activities and working with NGO’s in communicating the message of drug control and prevention of drug abuse. In order to provide for better graining and qualified personnel amongst the service providers, United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), and ILO, has taken up a number of projects which include Community Drug Rehabilitation and Work Place Prevention Programme. Under this programme, 20 NGOs have been identified in different parts of the country with an objective to train at least 4000 service providers in rehabilitation of drugs.
The Government has also launched two major projects to ;be implemented in collaboration with UNDCP and ILO during the year viz. Community wide Drug Demand Reduction in India and Community wide Demand Reduction in the North-East States of India. The project has been designed specially keeping in mind the felt needs of the North-East States of the country, the border regions, the high risk groups and the disadvantaged sections of the society.
The Government has embarked upon the first ever initiative in collaboration with the UNDCP for carrying out a national survey to asses the extent., trend and pattern of alcohol and drug abuse in the country. This survey shall, provide authentic information on the actual dimension of the problem and facilitate appropriate need based interventions to address the problem of alcoholism and drug abuse in the country.
Experience has shown that the demand for drugs can be curbed effectively only in a social climate of abstinence among the people to be created by propagating a life style that rejects the use of dependence-producing substances. By and large, abstinence is still deeply rooted in our culture and is strongly supported by the family, community and religion.