MAKING LAWS ON NARCOTIC SUBSTANCES IS NOT ENOUGH
Author: Nishant Shankar, III year of B.B.A., LL.B. from BVDU, New Law College, Pune
“That’s all drugs and alcohol do; they curt off your emotions in the end.” –Ringo Starr
“Drug is a chemical substance which is used for treatment, cure or prevention of disease, which is also used to enhance physical or mental well-being.
No civilisation is there in the history of mankind which didn’t use drugs for pleasurable purposes. Drugs are generally used for relieving psychic tension which gradually results in the death of the consumers or organ failure such as destruction of the brain, lung failure etc. Now a day’s drug abuse is one of the worst health hazards. It has become the curse of our time which gradually results in the dissolution of one’s personality and creates anti-social conditions by spreading crimes.
According to some scholars, India was the first country where people started to dry cannabis and smoke. Initially, in India, drugs were used in religious ceremonies, which gradually became a part of Ayurvedic medicine. Later cannabis products were widely used in various rituals such as Holi, Shivratri, which is still in practice. Then during the Mughal period, opium became very popular because of a misconception that it can take care of sex deficiencies. Later on, the cultivation of opium was done for export, which later was controlled by the East India Company. In the year 1857, The Opium Act, 1857 was passed with an object to control the laws relating to poppy cultivation. But the major issue in India is located between Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle countries, which are considered as prime producers and exporters of synthetic drugs. Because of India’s location between Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle the drug traffic runs through the territory of India. Earlier India was considered as a transit state only but gradually cross border terrorist activities and various other factors made India a consuming country.
To cope up with the issue of drug traffic and drug abuse in our country various laws were made such as the Opium Act, 1857; the opium Act, 1878; the Dangerous Drugs Act, 1930; the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, etc. Despite having various laws and regulations to control drug traffic and drug abuse, India became a major base for the trade of drugs and psychotropic substances by the 1980s and the existing laws were outdated, many deficiencies were noticed. To curb the growing menace of drug traffic and drug abuse a new act was passed which was The Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 with an object to consolidate laws relating to narcotic drugs, to make stringent provisions regarding operations relating to drugs. The present act came with a better penalty scheme which was not sufficient under previous acts. After the enactment of aforesaid Acts, various international treaties and protocols have evolved to which the Government of India was a part of, which imposes various obligations. Those obligations were covered or partially covered under the present act.
Salient Features of Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985
· The present act broadens the enforcement by providing investigating power to central enforcing agencies like Central Excise, Customs, Narcotics, apart from Border Security Force, State Police and CSIF, which was not there in existing acts.
· Several Special Courts were established exclusively to try NDPS Act cases.
· Punishment for addicts is lesser and provisions for the treatment of drug addicts for de-addiction are there, and in the case of traffickers, the rule is “Jail is the rule and Bail is an exception.
· Harsh Penalty scheme was adopted as a minimum sentence for 10 years and a minimum fine of one lakh rupees, also death penalty in certain cases for repeat offenders.
· A National fund was established to meet the expenditure in combating drug trafficking and drug abuse.
In the case of Mohd. Sadiq v. State the scope and ambit of the said act were properly analysed and the Court said that “The Act was enacted to control, combat and minimize the threat of drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
Who takes Drugs and why?
There is no clear picture of a drug abuser, he can be any person may be young or old, professionals or non-professionals, educated or uneducated, male or female and can be from any socio-economic class.
There is a widespread fallacy that only irresponsible, bad and crime oriented people abuse drugs. Usually, a highly motivated, competitive and committed person uses drugs to cope up with his stress. Once a person becomes addicted whether educated or uneducated, professionals or non-professionals, male or female then there will be no distinction concerning the intensity of craving for drugs. Once an individual is abused he can go to any extent to obtain drugs.
Three main factors contributing to drug abuse are emotional stress, physical needs (to boost endurance), psychological factors such as trauma, mental illness etc.. The most common probable causes of drug abuse are the death of loved once, end of the relationship with a person to whom he is emotionally attached, relaxation and enjoyment purpose, peer and social pressure, school pressure, environmental influences, mental illness or trauma, financial stress, self-medication, career pressure, trauma and abuse, feeling of boredom or monotony, experimentation, to enhance performance, etc.. To cope up with aforesaid reasons an individual usually goes for drugs and becomes an addict.
Drug Abuse in Different Groups
Drug abusers can be classified in different groups which may include:
· Teens Working professionals
· Homeless and Loneliness
Teens: Teenage is a period in an individual’s life in which he faces a difficult period that may be school pressure, social obligation, he goes through hormonal changes. They often face financial and family stresses. And to control and escape from these stress and pressure they become more vulnerable to drugs. Nowadays teenagers do drugs to look cool among their friends.
Working Professionals: Working professionals usually face societal pressures, financial stress, family stress, work burden, and to cope with these stresses they succumb to drugs.
Homeless and lonely: Now a day’s old age group after their retirement is isolated from their family and they don’t get much time, attention and support from their family members. To cope with isolation they go for doing drugs. Homeless persons face isolation, lack of support which leads them to use drugs.
Suggestion and Conclusion
Today the World is fighting a new war which is not racism, fascism or, communism, but in this war, mankind is not prepared, that is a war against the rising menace of drug abuse. But we need to win this war and for that, we have to come together and fight this war of rising tide of drug abuse. The problem of drug abuse is a complex chain and needs to be addressed at different stages and in different aspects simultaneously. If only one part is addressed then we won’t get the desired result, as profit in the drug trade is so large that traffickers can easily move their shop.
To fight this struggle it is necessary to combat both drug traffickers and consumers. If only suppliers are targeted then that would increase prices, due to which anti-social activities will increase because once an individual is a drug addict then he will do anything to obtain drugs. These all problems again will give rise to ways of trafficking.
In the present act, the rule is “Jail is rule and Bail is the exception” but this rule should have opted for traffickers and drug addicts should be sent to a rehabilitation centre rather than jail. The reason for drug addiction could be anything and it is always better to give them proper treatment. No individual is beyond treatment, and no matter what was the cause for drug abuse or what triggered an individual to do drugs, there is always hope for treatment and it's better to provide proper treatment rather than putting them behind the bars.
Awareness and prevention camps should be organised from school level itself. Individuals who fought a fight against drug abuse should be socially accepted rather than isolating them, which may result in drug re-addiction.
Special Courts are established to try Narcotic offences but such Courts are also given charge of being Special Courts for some other acts such as the Essential Commodities Act which leads to the overburden of work. Section 36A of the NDPS Act should be strictly adopted for the constitution of special courts for trying cases related to Narcotic offences.
“A drug-free world: we can do it” was the slogan convened by 20thUNGASS (United Nations General Assembly Special Session) on Drugs in 1998 to endorse drug control policies. We have to fight a compressive war against drugs in the workplace, in schools and colleges and everywhere, so that we could say A Drug-Free World: We Did It!
As an epilogue, it is submitted in the interest of mankind that we need to save our future generation from the rising tide of drug abuse.
Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.
 Myanmar, Thailand and Laos.
The preamble of The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, http://legislative.gov.in/sites/default/files/A1985-61.pdf
 Statement of Objects and Reasons, NDPS Act, 1985
 (1990) 2 ChdLR 435
 UNGASS: World Drug Problem, https://drugpolicy.org/publications-resources/sign-letters/public-letter-kofi-annan/ungass-world-drug-problem