Recently, the World Drug Report 2023 was launched by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC):
The agency's focus is the trafficking and abuse ofillicit drugs, crime prevention and criminal justice, international terrorism, and political corruption.
It is a member of the United Nations Development Group.
New estimates of people who inject drugs are higher than previously estimated as treatment services and other interventions fall short, including for record numbers of displaced people due to humanitarian crises.
About 18 per cent increase has been observed in people consuming drugs, higher than previously estimated.
Globally, over 296 million people used drugs in 2021, an increase of 23 per cent over the previous decade.
“Cheap and easy” synthetics changing drug markets was found.
Drug trafficking accelerated environmental devastation and crime in the Amazon Basin.
More monitoring of public health impacts needed amid rapid regulatory changes and clinical trials with psychedelics was poor.
The report also highlights how social and economic inequalities drive – and are driven by – drug challenges; the environmental devastation and human rights abuses caused by illicit drug economies; and the rising dominance of synthetic drugs.
Youth populations are the most vulnerable to using drugs and are also more severely affected by substance use disorder in several regions.
In Africa, 70 per cent of people in treatment are under the age of 35.
According to World Drug Report 2022, India has the fourth largest quantity of opium seized in 2020 at 5.2 tons and the third-highest amount of morphine was also seized in the same year at 0.7 tons.
What are Drugs?
They are chemical substances that affect the normal functioning of the body and/or brain.
Not all drugs are illegal. For example, caffeine (found in coffee or Coca-Cola), nicotine (in cigarettes) and alcohol are all technically legal drugs.
Medicines, whether prescribed by a doctor or available over the counter at pharmacies, are legal drugs to help us recover from illnesses, although they can also be abused.
Drug menace in India:
Types of Drugs:
In 2016, 6 drug types accounted for nearly all drug trafficking offenses:
India is sandwiched between two largest Opium producing regions of the world that is the Golden triangle on one side and the Golden crescent on other.
The golden triangle area comprises Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos.
The golden crescent area includes Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.
This is because of the intensification of trafficking in opiates originating in Afghanistan may be taking place eastwards, in addition to southwards and westwards along the traditional Balkan route.
Why controlling drug menace is difficult?
Over the counter and easy availability
Porous international borders
Detached lifestyles: loss of morals and family support
Variation in Drug control Policy: Cultivation and sale of opium poppy husk is legal in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, accounting for the presence of these two substances in abundance in the districts near Rajasthan, such as Bathinda, Fazilka and Mansa.
There is hardly any coordination among the police, the BSF, and the state and central intelligence agencies for curbing the problem.
Efforts to combat drug problem:
Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act, 1985: It prohibits a person from producing, possessing, selling, purchasing, transporting, storing, and/or consuming any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.
The NDPS Act has since been amended thrice – in 1988, 2001 and 2014.
The Act extends to the whole of India and it applies also to all Indian citizens outside India and to all persons on ships and aircraft registered in India.
Nasha Mukt Bharat: The ‘Nasha Mukt Bharat’, or Drug-Free India Campaign which focuses on community outreach programs.
National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR) is an umbrella scheme of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (MoSJ&E) under which financial assistance is provided to State Governments/ Union Territory (UT) Administrations for Preventive Education and Awareness Generation.
Global stance: India is signatory of the following international treaties and conventions to combat the menace of Drug Abuse:
United Nations (UN) Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961)
UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971)
UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988)
UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) 2000.