Epidemic of drug abuse

We are losing a generation to it
"Jammu and Kashmir is facing silent epidemic of drug abuse. Drugs like cannabis, brown sugar, heroin and many others are used on a large scale."
"Jammu and Kashmir is facing silent epidemic of drug abuse. Drugs like cannabis, brown sugar, heroin and many others are used on a large scale."Mapixel [Creative Commons]

BY ADVOCATE NASIR UL ISLAM

As per WHO drug abuse is the harmful and hazardous use of psychotropic substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs. According to world Drug report of 2021:

1. There is 22% increase in number of people using drugs from 2010 to 2019.

2. About 270 million people around the world used drugs last year.

3. Non medicinal use of pharmaceutical drugs.

4. Rising web based sale of drugs during covid 19.

Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir is facing silent epidemic of drug abuse. Drugs like cannabis, brown sugar, heroin and many others are used on a large scale.

In 2019, the union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) and AIIMS New Delhi carried out a survey to measure the extent of drug abuse in J&K. As per the report, 4.9 percent of the population, which amounts to over 6 lakh individuals in J&K (as per Census 2011).

The survey said that the J&K was among the top five states and UTs in India in terms of opioid abuse.

Major reasons for drug abuse

Changing cultural values is one of the causes of rising drug abuse, as taking drugs is now been glamorised by movies, media etc. As it all starts from smoking or use of tobacco products, which acts as a gate way to drug abuse. Experimentation by children leads to drug addiction and abuse, lack of familial and social support, low self esteem, increasing economic stress, and peer pressure act as some of the causes and stimulants for drug abuse.

Negative impact of drug abuse

Drug abuse gives rise to large number of diseases like cancer, Aids, Hepatitis B and C, change in heart rate, heart attack, and stroke. The economic potential of the drug abuser gets wasted, and also increases financial burden. It affects relationship within family, with friends, and creates emotional and social problems. Drug abuse gives rise to increase in crimes like drinking, and domestic violence.

Challenges to curb drug abuse

1. Lack of availability of drug rehabilitation centers.

2. Eliminating stigmatization and discrimination against drug addicts and providing adequate treatment.

3. Smuggling of illicit drugs is another impediment to curb drug abuse.

4. Legally available drugs, such as tobacco, alcohol etc., is a huge problem.

5. Non Medicinal use of pharmaceutical drugs like Diazepan, Alprazolam etc.

Annual action plan

Ministry of Social Justice and empowerment in 2020-2021 launched an annual action plan “Nasha Mukht Bharat” - Drug free India – campaign. The focus areas of action plan are as:

1. Focus on treatment in hospital settings.

2. Community outreach and identification of dependent population.

3. Outreach, awareness by social justice, awareness generation programmes in university campuses, colleges and schools.

4. Drop in centers for addicts will be set up.

5. Integrated rehabilitation center for addicts, would reach out to communities to help those affected by drug addiction.

Legal framework

The prime law which deald with illicit drugs and trafficking is Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, commonly referred to as the NDPS Act, that prohibits a person from any type of production/manufacturing/cultivation, possession, sale, purchasing, transport, storage, and/or consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance. Anyone who contravenes the NDPS Act will face punishment based on the quantity of the banned substance.

-where the contravention involves a small quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to 1 year, or with a fine which may extend to Rs 10,000 or both;

-where the contravention involves a quantity lesser than commercial quantity but greater than a small quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years and with fine which may extend to Rs 1 lakh ;

-where the contravention involves a commercial quantity, with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 10 years but which may extend to 20 years and also a fine which shall not be less than Rs1 lakh but which may extend to Rs 2 lakh.

Way forward

Seminars, lectures, public awareness programs, rallies were organised to observe the World Drug Day.

The question remains, did this all type of flurry activism change anything on ground, or is it just a sort of routine formality with no impact on ground.

The epidemic of drug abuse has engulfed us; we are losing a generation to it. Involvement of parents, teachers, and the larger community is necessary to get rid of this menace.

We need to own drug addicts not to disown them, provide them a helping hand to get rid of drug addiction.

Advocate Nasir ul Islam practices Law at Jammu and Kashmir High Court and can be reached at: mail2nasir31@gmail.com

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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