The Narcotics Control Bureau of India has in its recent finding identified 272 districts across the country which are most affected by the drug menace. These include Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and the North Eastern states. Eight districts of Arunachal namely Lohit, Dibang Valley, Upper Siang, Anjaw, Changlang, Namsai, Tirap and West Kameng are also mentioned in the NCB’s list of most vulnerable from the supply point of view. The growing number of cases related to narcotic and other psychotropic substances being recorded from various parts of our state is a matter of grave concern.
Though there are strict laws in place to check these crimes like the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act or the NDPS Act, the numbers of drug related crimes refuse to subside. Every year, numerous cases are registered from various districts of the state under NDPS Act and a number of arrests take place but it is also a fact that only a few of those accused face strict prosecution. This happens because the NDPS Act is not strictly implemented in the state. Usually most accused arrested under NDPS Act after remaining under judicial custody get out on bail after three months and get back to supply and abuse of drugs. They are generally repeat offenders who do not fear the law because there are flaws in the legal system.
For them it is a quick source of income and therefore they are willing to take the risk at the cost of their individual health as well as that of the whole society. The menace of drugs in our state stems from many factors, economic factor being the most notable among them. Poverty along with illiteracy among our people push many towards drug dependency and related crimes.
A major chunk of our youths is unemployed, only a few can acquire govt. jobs while the rest have no other means of income generation. These circumstances cause youths to take drugs out of frustration and thus, the vicious cycle continues. The same poverty and deprivation which have led youths to take drugs have also become the main causes behind poverty and deprivation in the society. This a cycle we need to break and for that multipronged measures are needed. No doubt, stricter laws are necessary but apart from that both the government and the society should make concerted efforts to address the drug menace.
Though the central government has introduced many plans and schemes to tackle the problem like the ministry for social justice and empowerment’s Nasha Mukt Bharat: Annual Action Plan, much remains to be done in this regard. Not only does govt. need to address flaws in the legal system, it also needs to focus on treatment facilities and infrastructure in hospitals as well as educational institutions and schools besides, setting up de-addiction facilities and establishing integrated rehabilitation centre for addicts. At the same time, the govt. should focus more towards creating opportunities for employment generation by encouraging aid to agriculture and horticulture farmers in the state. Moreover, as a society, we all need to be aware and help and support people who take drugs or alcohol and not stigmatize them.