India is one of the fastest developing nations in the world. The GDP of the same is growing at a rapid pace. Development does not restrict itself to economies rather it broadens to poverty, youth development, educational development as well. India has the largest youth population in the world contributing 34% of India’s Gross National Income. The youth of India has been contributing a majority of the portion towards the development of the nation. Youth is considered the wealth of the nation. Thus, this resource has to be utilized efficiently to increase the contribution to the development of the nation by increasing their involvement and productivity. The youth need to be protected and the interest of the same must be safeguarded to ensure their survival and maximum output from them. These days with the increasing modern trend and the maximum influence of western culture, people are migrating to western countries at a very early age, which somewhat is affecting the progress of the nation. Due to the increasing population, there is an increase in unemployment which leads to misleading the youth. The youth are misguided if they are not engaged in the area of interest. This misleading leads to drug addiction, an increase in crime rate, and mental issues. Unemployment, societal pressure, peer pressure instigates the person to go beyond its necessary behavior and carry out things, may it be their mental or physical behaviour. Thus, it becomes the duty of the government to ensure some measures to provide them employment as well as protect them from all the harmful addiction.
These days the youth is handicapped with drug addiction. Talking out not just the youth but the majority of the population is trapped with the addiction of the drugs. The drug addiction is somewhat like walking blindfolded on the busy street with the layer of flowers covering the street. The person blinded might enjoy walking off the beds of flowers, but he isn’t aware as to where he is going or what might come next after him. Therefore, this addiction holds the ability to grow the crop (population) but with zero nutrition (productivity), i.e, making them waste (unproductive). It makes them a shallow pot but attractive from outside, but is of no use.
Drugs were introduced in India during Colonial Period and were considered as a mark of royalty, as the price was out of the reach of the general public. Later on, after the independence prices went down and hence it was then made accessible to all. The consumption of drugs was widespread to the parts of the country and hence two states caught this addiction and further it spread to almost all parts of India.
Previously, Punjab and Haryana were considered to be the most drug-addicted states in the country. The youth, kids, and men of these two states were highly addicted to drugs. Thus, the crime rate also escalated rapidly. Young girls were kidnapped and forced to consume drugs and thus were smuggled around the nation for sexual exploitation. Men used to be considered highly addictive and remain intoxicated the whole day which resulted in failed marriages or divorces. This also led to a boost in physical violence. Women were forced by their husbands to consume drugs subjected to physical, sexual violence. Drugs were smuggled to these states from parts of Pakistan or via peddlers, as the drugs are illegal in India. Down the lane drugs are still available and consumed in India. Furthermore, other parts of the country got captured in the fetter of the drugs. Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh (Noida, Ghaziabad) became the hub for the drug peddlers. The drugs are purchased and sold illegally at very cheap rates to shoot up their demand and consumption. Some drugs are available at higher rates. The addiction to these drugs is at such a point that if the consumer is unable to purchase the drugs or is financially incapable of purchases such drugs tend to commit crime for money. Drug addiction has majorly affected the youth of the nation.
These drugs might include cigarettes, charas (hash), heroin, cannabis, hookah, vape, bhang (hemp), cocaine, LSD (pill), ganja (marijuana- a form of weed), afeem (opium), MD (Medical Drug), and any other forms of drugs, like usage of whitener and chemical solutions as drugs, tobacco, injecting drugs, etc.
Charas, ganja: marijuana is rolled in a rolling paper which forms the shape of cigarettes and thus are smoked with higher addiction. Some drugs like injecting drugs are injected into the body via injections. These drugs are given to pregnant women in the form of medicines in lesser quantities. But when these are injected in higher quantities, they thus develop as drugs in the body and lead to addiction. Pills like LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) obtained from fungus, are consumed as drugs and are highly responsible for the sudden change in mood, behaviour.
Even if these drugs are illegal, still they are supplied among various parts of the country that too in humongous amounts. These are consumed without fear of death or legislature. With this increasing trend of drugs leading to death and crimes, various legal activists protested in order to pressurize lawmakers to frame strict laws for the same. It was felt that there is a need for an hour to impose strict liability on the abettor and the consumer of the same. Strict laws were imposed and the peddling of drugs was targeted in order to avoid further consumption and introduction of drugs in society. To safeguard the citizens from this life threat, strict laws, rapid enforcement, and well-structured management were required. It was also discussed that there is a need for a separate legal agency to frame laws and tackle the cases regarding this issue. This further leads to the establishment of a separate control bureau and separate laws for Narcosis.
The term Drug has been derived from “DROGUE” meaning dry barrels referring to medicinal plants preserved in them. With the development and usage of drugs in society, the need for new laws arose. Drugs are defined in two categories, either medicinal or psychoactive behaviour.
Drugs were classified into four categories such as:
i) Stimulated (a drug that speeds up the central nervous system);
ii) Depressants (drugs that slow down the function of the central nervous system);
iii) Hallucinogens (a drug that distorts the senses), and
iv) Deliriums (as anesthetics have an effect upon both mind and body).
These are further classified as HARD DRUG and SOFT DRUG. Hard drugs are those drugs that lead to addiction whereas soft drugs relate to cannabis.
Article 47 of the Indian Constitution states that the State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.
Initially, the major cause of addiction was the use of opium and morphine for medical preparation during the war. Later on, with the increase in the addiction to the drugs among citizens it was considered as a soldier’s disease. Although, back then in 1937, marijuana was already banned in the country. Where the derivatives of cannabis were sold legally and were prominent among the citizens. India was the only nation among the developed countries to make easy and cheap accessibility of the drugs among the poor ones, under National Drug Policy. Later on, in 1961, India opposed the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. In the line of the same, it was then decided to grant a grace period of 25 years to India to make cannabis available for medicinal purposes. As this was something sensitive for the nation with the maximum of its population as a youth, it was in 1963 that the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) was passed, to keep a check on the prices of the Drug. This later turned out to be an epic failure in the field of controlled drugs, as either the production of drugs was shut down in the nation or the companies shifted to other nations.
As the grace period of the Convention was about to end, on 14, November 1986, a major enactment was made to tackle drug abuse in the country. It was this day when the major drug law the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (1985) was enacted banning the cultivation, manufacturing, possession, sale, transport, of all the narcotics drugs in India, except for medical and scientific purposes as stated in the Act. The only provision for non-medical cultural use within the 1985 Act was that drinks made from cannabis leaves were to be sanctioned Britto 1989. The main aim of this Act was to control the drug-related activities in the nation, may it be production, manufacturing, distribution of the same. This Act includes various drugs prevailing in the nation.
The NDPS Act imposes restrictions on the usage of the drugs and for those who do so, the punishment for the same was mentioned. The punishment under this Act depends upon the amount/ quantity including the commercial quantity. The punishment varies from 1year of imprisonment to 10-20 years of imprisonment and Rs. 10,000 to 1-2 Lakh.
In the year 2014, the NDPS Act was amended. The 2014 amendment amended Section 74 of this Act regulating the management of drugs and rules for treatment. The punishment was increased for low-level offenses. A single license for the production of morphine was required to be sanctioned by the State Drug Controller. The earlier prolonged period or multiple licenses for the sanction was removed. Also, state-wise conflicts were resolved by implementing it nation-wise. Essential Narcotic Drugs which are used in medicinal preparations also including; Morphine, Fentanyl, and Methadone have been relaxed for easy accessibility among treatments provided. The punishment for the repeated offender was lesser to a sentence of 30n years from the death penalty, with an increase in punishment for small quantity offenses from 6 months to 1 year
Table 1. Drugs under NDPS Act and Punishments
|Drugs||Small Quantity||Punishment||Commercial Quantity||Punishment||Intermediate (In between smaller and commercial quantity)|
|Heroin||5g||Maximum of 1year imprisonment or a fine up to Rs. 10,000 or both.||250g||Rigorous Imprisonment from 10 years (min) to 20 years (max) and a fine from Rs. 1 Lakh to 2 Lakh.||Rigorous imprisonment that may extend to 10 years and fine that may extend to Rs. 1 Lakh.|
|Ganja(Cannabis resin)||1 Kg||20Kg|
These are various bodies that are governing and actively restricting drug abuse in the nation:
• Narcotics Control Division
• Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN)
• The Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB)
• Other Agencies- Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation, Customs Commission, Border Security Force.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is the chief law enforcement and intelligence agency of India is responsible for fighting drug trafficking and the abuse of illegal substances. It was created on 17 March 1986 to enable the full implementation of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (1985) and fight its violation through the Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (1988).
The Act was a successful step in the context of controlling the usage of drugs but again it holds some loopholes which caused the continuation of the consumption of the drugs.
1. The very first drawback is not just restricted to this Act but the whole judicial system. As it is said, “Justice delayed, is justice denied”. Hence, the delay in the judicial system enables the smugglers to hold a careless attitude towards the smuggling of the same. They have this in the back of their mind that the judicial system is not strong enough to punish them, which inspires them to do such acts and widespread their deeds.
2. Even if the NDPS Act established separate bodies for the investigation and the hearing of the cases still the investigation procedure is prolonged and thus it decreases the efficiency of the case. The delayed justice becomes quite common due to this drawback.
3. As every institution is corrupted, therefore this like other departments is corrupted. The corruption as in the officers themselves is involved in drug peddling or consumption. This parasite also results in tampering with the investigations.
4. Our judicial system considers a person innocent until proven guilty. But this does not apply to this field. The Act presumes the accused guilty which results in the complete responsibility of the accused to prove himself innocent. The offenses under Sections 19, 24, 27-A of the NDPS Act are non-bailable. Hence bail cannot be granted to the accused.
5. The investigators are more focused on the big players who are selling the drugs in higher quantities, ignoring the peddlers selling the lesser quantity or regular peddlers. The accused are freed after spending a long time in custody for carrying a smaller quantity of drugs.
6. A clear distinction must be made between a casual drug user, a hard addict, a petty peddler, and a seasonable drug trafficker. The distinction will enable the judicial body to punish the offender accordingly.
7. With the rapid growth in technology, the regular check must be maintained in this Act to ensure they follow up to the changing scenario. Every day with the use of certain different chemicals, new drugs are developed and introduced in the consumption market.
8. As the consumption of liquor is increasing. People are developing an addiction for the same, leading to an increase in crime. But since the NDPS Act doesn’t include liquor in drugs, it becomes difficult to punish the accused. Increasing liquor in the category of drugs will help prevent crime.
Conclusion and Suggestions
The usage of Drugs is prevalent for ages. Earlier, people used to consider some of the drugs as herbal plants and consume them to worship God as their religious sentiments were attached to it. Weed/ marijuana is among one such example. People earlier and still considered that weed is a way to please Lord Shiva as he used to smoke the same hence can be used as one. People also consume these drugs to get mental peace. Various consumers have given reasons that they do so to avoid mental pressure. Societal pressure, mental instability, or to avoid depression they do so. This can be avoided and the citizens can be protected with strict laws and some reasonable safeguards by the government and the family. This issue is highly neglected by society but must be given utmost priority and there is a need to protect the upcoming generation from drug abuse by various measures.
Some suggestions regarding the same include:
1. Long Run: A drug addiction can’t be ended in just days or so. It takes a long time and one must have patience. He/she must not panic or discontinue the treatment just because it is not showing any improvement. Parents must also try to support them in this lengthy process. They must also not lose help and neither the patient loses one.
2. Social Interaction and General Awareness: People must try to talk among themselves about this issue. Parents must educate their child regarding the usage and the quantity of intake and also the harmful effects of the same. Government must also introduce some general awareness programs to educate the people about this issue and its effect on themselves and society.
3. Rehabilitation: It is not that if a person is a drug addict, he/she can’t be treated. Just it takes the efforts of the addicted person as well as their family members. Family is someone who is very close to a person and is considered to be someone the person mostly cares for. A mother/father/brother/sister will never be thought ill of a person. Family is someone considered as a support system, with whose system a person can achieve anything. Thus, the drug addiction can be curbed with the utmost help of the family and sincere dedication.
4. Prioritizing Health: People must be made aware of the harmful effects of drug addiction on their health. They must try to prioritize their health rather than luxury or anything else. Health is considered to be the wealth of the person. A person without health will not be able to achieve anything.
5. Mental Concern: Mental health must also be given importance as there are cases where the person tries to develop drug addiction just to help himself with his mental problem. If a person is suffering from depression or anxiety society gives them the term “insane” rather than accepting the person as an individual with a normal sickness. This neglect from society creates anger, frustration, and instigates the person to harm himself. They then try to find their peace in drugs. Cutting themselves from society and parents and indulging in such acts gives them a kind of peace.
6. Child Introduction: Parents must try to introduce their child to the drug. There must be a transparent conversation between both regarding the same. Instead of children consuming these drugs privately, among their friends leading to misinterpretation of knowledge and misguidance, parents must try to sit back with their child and even must try to make them taste stuff like these and guide them regarding the amount, usage.
Drug addiction or abuse is not taboo. Instead, it is a general sickness that can be healed by the support of families, society, government, only and only if they try to walk hand in hand. There must be transparency between society and the government. Alcohol must be included in drugs. Cannabis must be made legal in the nation for medical as well commercial purposes, to benefit the nation economically and introduction of the cannabis industry to increase employment. Legalizing drugs will ensure healthy intake and the controlled consumption of them. The government must keep a regular check on the ongoing trend in society and necessary amendments must be made to control drug abuse in the nation.
6. CKParikh (2017) Parikh’s textbook of Medical Jurisprudence, Forensic Medicine and Toxicology. (6th edn).
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10. Narcotic Drugs And Psychotropic Substances Act (1985)
12. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/passing-ofndps-act-amendment-bill-will-make-morphine-more-accessible/ article5718188.ece.