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Towards a new dawn: War on Drugs

Drug use is high fashion among young people nowadays despite its negative effects on the daily life and social relations. It is also a vicious cycle for the junkies since the body

War on Drugs

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  11 Sep 2021 6:30 AM GMT

Priyanku Narayan Baruah

(alwayspriyanku@gmail.com)

Drug use is high fashion among young people nowadays despite its negative effects on the daily life and social relations. It is also a vicious cycle for the junkies since the body needs more drug each passing day and the usual dosage does not suffice. Therefore, many junkies overdose on drugs. When the addict is not able to find drugs or need to decrease the frequency or the amount, he/she starts to feel deprivation. Deprivation includes physical and psychological problems affecting his/her life in an unfavourable way.

In the USA the War on Drugs began under President Richard Nixon. Many countries across the world are following the US Model of war on drugs, an anti-drugs movement.

Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, the CM of Assam, shows a never-before positive attitude towards the anti-drug movement. Further, the Assam police are giving their best in "war on drugs", a bright prospect ahead. Every day, police teams across the state are busting drug cartels, arresting traffickers and recovering contraband and cash.

Between May 10, when the new government assumed office, and June 23, police across Assam registered 659 cases and arrested 1,142 people in connection to drugs. Over 16.69 kilograms of heroin, nearly 6,700 kilograms of marijuana, over 200,000 illegal tablets and around Rs 80 lakh in cash have been recovered in this period. Assam police seized drugs worth Rs 125.56 crore, 65 lakh, 72 thousand. The anti-drug movement in Assam picked up momentum last month after the formation of new government under CM Himanta Biswa Sarma, who also holds the home portfolio. As per police records, there has been a big jump in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act cases in the past 10 years in the state. From 180 cases in 2010, the police registered 1,023 cases last year, that has been increasing to a great extent with the recent trend emerge in Assam regarding "war on drugs". It is a serious issue to know that several lakhs of people, especially youth are already addicted to drugs.

The notorious Golden Triangle represents the region coinciding with the rural mountains of Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand. It is Southeast Asia's main opium-producing region and one of the oldest narcotics supply routes to Europe and North America. With a 1643-km-long border with Myanmar, India has been at risk for the longest time, even before the emergence of Golden Crescent. States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, and Nagaland share their border with Myanmar. Drugs including opium, heroin, methamphetamine and many more are smuggled from Myanmar into the northeast. Also, Moreh (Manipur), Champai (Mizoram), Dimapur (Nagaland), and Guwahati (Assam) have become the nucleus of drug trafficking industry in India's Northeast.

Delhi and many other cities of India, particularly those bordering north-west India, like in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan, Northeast India and, to some extent, the coastal areas of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, were under the terrible impact of drug trafficking and drug-based crimes. As the NCRB data for 2018 showed Punjab and Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh are the three most criminally troubled states/UTs in India. In India a renewed focus on drug trafficking began when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his "Mann Ki Baat" programme on radio in December 2014, termed the addiction menace as "devastating". He has involved celebrities from the cine world, sports and other fields to campaign for a 'drug-free India'.

The Government of India spends a massive 450 million India Rupees per annum expenditure on prisoners and under-trials jailed under NDPS Act. A Scheme to finance State Governments/UTs to strengthen their enforcement capabilities for combating illicit Traffic in Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances was launched by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on October 24th, 2004 for a period of 05 years up to 31.3.2009 and the same was extended further. Considering the need for continuation of the Central Assistance Scheme and its objectives, the Modi Government of India has extended this Scheme for a further period of 3 years i.e from 2017-18 to 2019-20 with an estimated budget of Rs 21 crore.

In 2001, Portugal became the first country in the world to completely decriminalise the possession and consumption of all illicit substances, and over the course of twenty years through a persistent harm reduction strategy, the level of success that has been achieved by it in terms of reducing overdoses, HIV-infections and drug-related crimes remains unprecedented globally. While Portugal's strategy cannot be expected to translate seamlessly in the Indian context. It can only be hoped that the Reforms Committee takes this holistic perspective into account while re-designing the NDPS Act, instead of focusing on the primarily punitive approach used by states like Punjab or the uneasy balance attempted by Himachal trying to juxtapose incarceration with rehabilitation. In terms of Assam it is seen the biggest attempt for the first time in restless mood towards a "Drugs free state "following the appeal of PM Narendra Modi. Assam CM Dr.Himanta Biswa Sarma is a fighter in true spirit. It is expected that this battle against Drugs would have been lead towards success with the enthusiasm of Home department, Government of Assam including all staffs and officials as well as with the true spirit of everyone related. Especially the cooperation and awareness of public in favour of "war on drugs" is the most essential concern.

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