The Drug Mece in Assam
The easy availability and widespread use of rcotic drugs has never been the kind of mece in Assam as it is now. Drugs from the Golden Triangle find their way into Assam via Myanmar and Moreh in Manipur. Another new route for rcotic drugs from Chi to Assam is via Aruchal Pradesh. In any case, Guwahati has become a major hub for trade in rcotic drugs. An even more frightening aspect of the current drug trade is that drug peddlers are more on the lookout for future trade with confirmed drug addicts. As such, they are even prepared to distribute rcotic drugs free to prospective drug addicts among the adolescents to the extent of about Rs 50,000 per head. What they lose in the process, they expect to make up very profitably in the future when they would be dealing with the drug addicts they would be creating.
It is heartening to learn about the steps taken by State government and the Assam Police to deal with the mece of rcotic drugs even though they have come rather late in the day. On Wednesday, the State government constituted a task force to look into various aspects of the problem and directed district superintendants of police to map the areas and collect information on the sources, storage and consumption of such substances in their respective districts. On the same day, the All Assam Students Union (AASU) expressed its distress at the drug abuse in the State that had led to unruliness among today’s students and youth, thus pushing them to a dark future. The AASU also announced an agitatiol programme to protest the iction of the government. It proposed to organize bike rallies at district and subdivisiol headquarters on Friday and to hold demonstrations at the offices of deputy commissioners and sub-divisiol officers. One major complaint of the AASU is that even if drug-traffickers are caught, they mage to get away with little or no punishment at all. And yet the pel provisions for drug abuse under our laws are quite stiff.
While the mece of drug abuse itself is a major and legitimate matter of concern for parents and guardians of adolescents, there is yet another concern that we seem to have done little about. It is the disposal of seized drugs. We need to worry also about what happens to the quantum of seized drugs. There is a clear directive from the Supreme Court that makes it mandatory for all agencies connected with the seizure of rcotic drugs to incinerate the seized drugs within three months from the date of seizure. Unfortutely, the rate of disposal of seized drugs has been found to be nil in as many as 20 districts of Assam during the last four years. One cannot help wondering at what happens to the rcotic drugs seized by the police. If such drugs are not disposed of in accordance with the instructions of the Supreme Court, it is time to ask what happened to seized drugs. One shudders to think of what could happen if seized rcotic drugs were to reach the same target groups of adolescents and youths through altertive agencies engaged in the task of appearing to tackle drug abuse. This is a far more frightening situation than young people procuring drugs from drug-peddlers. It is a situation where the presumed saviour turns out to be the devil in disguise. That is why it is so important to have an official statement of what happened to all the seized drugs during the last four years. It is also time to explore ways of convincing the Supreme Court that it is better to have seized drugs incinerated within a week rather than within three months