Govt extends anti-narcotics scheme for 3 more years

NEW DELHI, Feb 14:
Taking into consideration the 40 lakh drug addicts in the country, the Centre has extended for three more years a scheme which combats illicit trafficking in drugs and psychotropic substance.
The ‘Assistance to States and UTs for Narcotics Control’ scheme has been extended for a further period of 3 years–from 2017-18 to 2019-20–with an estimated budget of Rs 21 crore, a Home Ministry notification said.
The purpose of the scheme is to assist state governments and Union Territories which are contributing in controlling the inter-state and cross border drug trafficking.
Financial assistance will be provided to all the anti- narcotics agencies for strengthening their enforcement capabilities to combat illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, the notification said.
Financial assistance is also proposed to be provided for all capacity building activities, including training of personnel.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) being the national nodal agency for drug administration will process the requests from state governments and UTs for financial assistance for improving their enforcement capabilities in dealing with the supply side of the drug menace, the official said.
According to the latest assessments, there are approximately 40 lakh drug addicts in India but the actual figure may be still higher, a Home Ministry official said.
The most common drugs of abuse are ‘ganja’, ‘hashish’, ‘opium’ and ‘heroin’. The abuse of pharmaceutical preparations like ‘buprenorphine’, codeine based cough syrups and painkillers like ‘proxivon’ has also assumed serious proportions.
In certain regions of the country, drug abuse has already become a severe social-economic problem affecting the vulnerable age groups, the official said.
It is, therefore, essential that the state governments and UTs are aware of the drug related problems in their states and UTs and address them in an effective manner before they assume epidemic proportions, another official said.
The strategies would include both supply reduction and demand reduction. Supply reduction would include enforcement activities while demand reduction would involve rehabilitation and de-addiction measures.
The scheme was first launched on October 24, 2004 for a period of five and later extended twice in subsequent years. (PTI)