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Narcotic drugs

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    24th Apr, 2019

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on suspended the cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade in Jammu and Kashmir, citing “funnelling of illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency” as reasons.

Context

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on suspended the cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade in Jammu and Kashmir, citing “funnelling of illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency” as reasons.

About

What are Narcotic drugs?

  • They are the drugs that produces analgesia (pain relief), narcosis (state of stupor or sleep), and addiction (physical dependence on the drug). In some people narcotics also produce euphoria (a feeling of great elation).
  • Examples of narcotics are-
    • Opium - The most important alkaloids found in opium is morphine, which is primarily responsible for opium’s narcotic properties.
    • Heroin or diacetylmorphine- In 1898 it was developed from morphine by the Bayer Company in Germany. It is 5 to 10 times as potent as morphine itself and is used by most narcotic addicts.
  • Because heroin proved to be even more addictive than morphine, a search for synthetic substitutes was undertaken that resulted in such opioids as meperidine (Demerol), methadone, and levorphanol (Levo-Dromoran).

Why they are illegal?

  • Addictive: Most persistent users of heroin or other narcotics follow a classic progression from inhaling the drug to injecting it subcutaneously and then to injecting it intravenously; each of these stages usually brings a greater likelihood of addiction with it.
  • Need for larger doses: With increasing use of the drug, euphoria and relaxation eventually give way to drug tolerance and physical dependence; the addict must use progressively larger doses to achieve the same pleasurable effects.
  • Affects nervous system: Once the drug wears off the person must endure painful symptoms of physical and psychological withdrawal. An overdose of narcotics can severely depress the central nervous system, with respiratory failure and death as a consequence.
  • Immoral behaviour towards others: A person who has taken these drugs often does not have control over his mind and body. He may start performing acts unacceptable in the society- attacking self, attacking the fellow passer-by, etc.

What are the medical efforts to control them?

  • Most effective therapy for narcotics addicts involves the synthetic opiate methadone, which, though itself addictive, blocks the addict’s craving for heroin and provides no disruptive euphoric effects of its own.
  • Narcotic antagonists:
    • They block the actions of the narcotics, reverse their effects and they can often save the life of the victim. Examples include naloxone, naltrexone, and nalorphine.
    • Narcotic receptors have been identified in the brain. Narcotics act at these receptors to produce their many effects, whereas narcotic antagonists block these receptors and prevent narcotics from reaching them and exerting their actions.

What are the government efforts to control them?

  • India is a signatory to The UN Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs 1961, The Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971 and The Convention on Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988.
  • The National Policy on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances is based on the Directive Principles, contained in Article 47 of the Indian Constitution, which direct the State to endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption, except for medicinal purposes, of intoxicating drugs injurious to health.
  • Three central laws are:
    • Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940,
    • The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, and
    • The Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988.
  • The Narcotics Control Bureau is the apex coordinating agency constituted under The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 to take measures against illicit traffic in narcotic drugs.
  • The aspect of drug demand reduction is handled by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and that of treatment of drug addicts and their rehabilitation falls under the domain of the Ministry of Health.
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