According to the latest World Drug Report released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), around 269 million people made use of drugs worldwide in 2018 while more than 35 million people suffered from drug use disorders. The concern is grave and needs an urgent address to the problems posed by illegal drugs and the related phenomenon of drug trafficking. The developing nations are the one which fall prey to the greatest harms of the global drug trade, where the use of violence by the drug trafficking groups compel the governments to divert the funding away from the areas of sustainable development to greater resources on law enforcement to address the attacks on domestic stability.

The 120-nation led Non-Aligned Movement, the largest collective organisation of the developing nations, has called on the member states to address the problem of illicit drug trafficking and the detrimental of such activities on public health, stability in developing nations and socio-economic development of the nations. Calling out for collaborative action, the Non-Aligned Movement has reiterated the need for adoption of stringent action plan to counter the menace. Acting in line with the commitment laid by NAM and standing as the epitome to combat the menace, India, under the leadership of Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, has launched ‘Nasha Mukt Bharat: Annual Action Plan (2020-21)’ for 272 Most Affected Districts.

This year, on the occasion of “International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking”, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Mr. Rattan Lal Kataria e-launched the action plan and also released Logo and Tagline for the National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction and 9 Video Spots produced for Drug Abuse Prevention. The day is observed as an expression of the United Nations’ determination to strengthen action and cooperation inclined towards achieving the goal of making the international society free of drug abuse.

In India, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is the nodal Ministry for drug demand reduction in India that coordinates and keeps a close eye on all aspects of drug abuse prevention that range from assessment of the extent of the problem, preventive action, treatment and rehabilitation of addicts dissemination of information and public awareness. With awareness generation programmes, community outreach and identification of dependent population, focus on higher educational institutions, university campuses and schools, focus on treatment facilities in hospital settings and capacity building programmes for service provider as the major components, the Nasha Mukt Bharat Annual Action Plan for 2020-21 lays a major focus on 272 most affected districts and seeks to launch a three-pronged attack combining efforts of Narcotics Bureau, Outreach/Awareness by Social Justice and Treatment through the Health Department.

The Narcotics Control Bureau will be tasked to provide list of districts which are vulnerable from the supply point of view based on the finding of the National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in India, following which the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment would undertake intervention programmes in vulnerable districts of the country, the aim of which will lie in the major aspects of reaching out to children and youth for awareness about the ill effect of drug use, incorporating community participation and public cooperation, lending helping hand to the government hospitals to set up de-addiction centres in addition to the existing Ministry Supported De-addiction Centres (IRCAs) and also holding training programmes for participants.

The Ministry would also provide NGOs with the financial aid to run the de-addiction centres and would also provide community based services for identification, treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts through voluntary organisations. In a move to further extend for the help to the victims of drug abuse, their families and the society at large, the Ministry has also set up a 24×7 National Toll Free Drug De-addiction Helpline number 1800110031.

The misinformation in the present-day world has plagued the field of addressing the world drug problem but it is a great belief of the Non-Aligned Movement that problems like this are a common and shared responsibility that needs to be effectively tackled in a multilateral framework through meaningful international cooperation. The commitment highlighted by India to combat the menace is just a responsibility held on one’s part but such a commitment is of the utmost importance that should be carried out in complete uniformity by other member nations as well. The war against such evil practice is a long one and needs a balanced approach, thus, every nation across the world needs to address the same with technical and financial assistance.

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