Notified 2 months back, implementation of Drug De-addiction Policy yet to begin

Neither Action Plan nor Monitoring Committees formulated so far
No focus on use of solvents, steroids in health clubs
Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Mar 5: Even after admitting that drug-addiction is still on rise in the length and breadth of Jammu and Kashmir, the Government has yet not started implementation of Drug De-addiction Policy, which was notified nearly two months back after the approval of the State Administrative Council (SAC) headed by Governor.
The State Administrative Council vide Decision No.10/1/2019 dated January 4, 2019 accorded approval to the first ever Drug De-addiction Policy of the State and vide Order No.41-HME dated January 11, 2019 Government adopted the same.
However, till date the Government has not started implementation of the policy despite being well aware of the fact that drug abuse in the last few years has increased manifold and is fast proving malicious to the society by causing physical, psychological and intellectual decay, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
In the policy, roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders have been clearly defined by the Health and Medical Education Department but till date none of them has started acting on the same, they further said, adding “following approval of the policy by the SAC it was decided that department-wise Action Plan would be formulated so as to avoid confusion at any level and achieve the objectives behind the initiative of the Government”.
“The Action Plan has reportedly been drafted by the Health and Medical Education Department but the same is yet to be finalized by a committee, which has the mandate to monitor implementation of the policy at the State level”, they informed, adding “even non-official members from the civil society to this committee have not been nominated by the Government so far”.
In the policy, it is specifically mentioned that there will be De-addiction Centres Monitoring Committees—one each for each division of the State and it will comprise of two officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendents of Police (DySPs) to be nominated by the IG Crime Branch, Law Officers to be nominated by the Law Department and four non-official members from civil society with special interest in de-addiction.
“Even these committees have not been formulated by the Government so far although it was not a difficult task to execute during the past nearly two months”, sources further said. The importance of these committees can be gauged from the policy itself which states that Monitoring Committees will inspect existing de-addiction facilities, advise various stakeholders from time to time in order to implement De-addiction Policy on ground and also look at monitoring of prescription drug abuse in order to suggest remedial measures to Drug Controller.
They further disclosed that even no step has been initiated to enhance de-addiction treatment services in the District Hospitals by providing necessary infrastructure and manpower. “We have neither received manpower nor other assistance exclusively for this purpose”, said a number of Medical Superintendents of District Hospitals on the condition of anonymity when contacted.
The policy further states: “discussions and deliberations will be carried about utility of Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPSA) in present form and any amendments needed in view of the changing trends of substance use (including use of solvents and synthetic drugs that are currently not covered in the Act) and change in modus operandi of making the illicit substances available to the target population”.
“No step has been initiated on this aspect of the policy also”, sources said while disclosing that Drug and Food Control Organization has yet not started regulating gyms, body-building training centres and supplement stores although the same is imperative keeping in view the potential abuse of steroidal and hormonal preparations.
Contrary to the provisions of the policy, the sale of tobacco containing products within 100 yards of the health institutions is still continuing unabated. “Moreover, no strategy has been prepared for inter-agency collaboration between Crime Branch, Excise Department and local police to tackle inter-state trafficking of drugs”, sources said.
The Departments of Education, Excise and Taxation, Directorates of Health Services, Social Welfare, Police and Intelligence, J&K State AIDS Control Society, Narcotics Control Bureau and Youth Services and Sports too have vital role in implementation of Drug De-addiction Policy.
Though several telephonic calls were made to Principal Secretary to Government, Health and Medical Education Department Atul Dulloo to ascertain the steps being taken for implementation of Drug De-addiction Policy yet there was no response.