Social Justice Ministry suggests using anti-drug funds for de-addiction services, not just policing

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admin November 10, 2021
Updated 2021/11/10 at 1:44 PM

According to a senior Ministry official, the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry recently urged that the National Fund to Control Drug Abuse be utilised to carry out de-addiction programmes rather than only policing activities.

Subrahmanyam, Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, said the fund, which was established under a provision of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, has a notional capital of Rs. 23 crore. The sale revenues of any forfeited property, gifts provided by any person or organisation, and income from the fund’s investments all go into the fund under the NDPS Act. The money would be utilised to fight drugs trafficking, rehabilitate addicts, and prevent drug usage, according to the Act.

“It is exclusively utilised for police purposes.” Mr. Subrahmanyam stated, “We recently recommended adding de-addiction to it.”

He also said that a proposal to decriminalise the possession of “small amounts” of narcotics, as defined under the NDPS Act, has been forwarded to the Finance Ministry’s Department of Revenue. He said his agency, which is in charge of de-addiction programmes, will intervene and divert those found with tiny amounts of narcotics for personal use to treatment rather than prosecuting and imprisoning them. Mr. Subrahmanyam said that the department’s de-addiction programmes had a budget of 250 crores each year.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s Crime in India 2020 report, a total of 59,806 complaints were filed under the NDPS Act, including 33,246 instances of personal drug possession and 26,560 cases of drug trafficking possession.

The country’s drug addicts number in the millions. According to research released by the Social Justice Ministry and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in 2019, there were 3.1 crore cannabis users (of which 25 lakh were dependent users) and 2.3 crore opioid users in India in 2019. (of which 28 lakh were dependent users). Mr. Subrahmanyam said that this research, as well as others, was mentioned in the department’s recommendation to decriminalise small-scale narcotics possession.

Amod Kanth, a former IPS officer who served as Deputy Commissioner of Police of the Delhi Police Crime Branch from 1985 to 1990, when the NDPS Act was enacted, claimed the Act was designed to achieve what the Ministry of Social Justice had advised.

“I agree with their proposal to decriminalise small-scale drug possession. In response to the NCB’s recent lawsuit against Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan, he said, “The objective of the legislation is not what the NCB is doing now.”

Mr. Kanth, the founder of Prayas, an NGO that works with adolescents, claims that the police detained 5,834 persons in the first four years of the NDPS Act’s implementation in Delhi.

“We discovered that solely peddlers made up less than 10% of the population. We discovered that many of them were teenagers who had gotten themselves into the wrong kind of ‘experimenting’ and had given up. The various categories are explicitly defined by the legislation. “Those detected with commercial amounts face harsher penalties,” he warned.

He said that decriminalising tiny amounts of marijuana was already in the law, but that the interpretation had been incorrect.

“90 percent of those apprehended can be rectified,” he added, adding that he supports tough penalties for traffickers.

 

Source: The Hindu

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