In our country in general and our state in particular, drug-related crimes and drug addiction are rising at an exponential rate.
Addiction is a brain disorder, characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences. Drug addiction is excessive use of psychoactive drugs such as alcohol, pain medication or illegal drugs. It leads to physical, social and emotional harms.
A few illegal narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances are cocaine, hashish, thebaine, opium, morphine, heroin, codeine, ganja or marijuana, and many other restricted medicines.
Drug abuse and its impact on society
Drug addiction and abuse affects the physical, psychological, economical and social domains of an individual. It does not only harm the addict but has far-reaching effects on family, friends, employers, and the society as a whole.
In marriages: If one of the couple is a drug addict, it causes untold hardships to the other partner. The person who is an addict may have mood swings, violent outbursts, etc. The person who is addicted does not care about family and social responsibility, which leads to constant tension in married life and may lead to breakdown of marriage.
At home: A drug addict can jeopardize relationships with family members and peer groups. Addicts can become a burden on the family as they never contribute in family wellbeing and works. Frequent violent behaviour and financial burden incurred by addicts put much hardship on family members.
In education: Drug addiction affects the education of an addict as it leads to mental retardation. They lose interest in studies and become restless. They are underperformers because of loss of memory. They behave erratically and make unexplainable excuses to avoid educational institutions.
In employment: Employers are affected by employees who are drug addicts. They may change from a smart, punctual and efficient worker to someone who is late for work, or starts neglecting their appearance and personal hygiene. Their behaviour changes and it leads to a drop in productivity. Unable to communicate, they lose confidence and under-perform.
Health and wellbeing: Drugs lead to decay of health. It leads to cancer and communicable diseases. Drugs like heroin, cocaine and amphetamines lead to different kind of behaviour among addicts. Overdose of drugs may lead to suicide, death or physical damage.
Personality: It leads to anxiety, restlessness, paranoia and low self-esteem. Some drugs lead to alterations in functioning of the brain, which has a dramatic effect upon a person’s behaviour. Low appetite, weight loss and low concentration affects the brain, which can lead to mental disorder, affect psychomotor skills, and cause hallucination and lack of personal hygiene.
Financial issue: The cost of an addiction not only affects the addicted person but also the entire family and their friends. An addict could gradually indulge in stealing money from relatives and later end up committing bigger crimes.
Law and order: People who are addicted to drugs are often involved in stealing, or in fraud and other criminal activities. They may join organized criminal gangs and groups to meet their needs. They often engage in drinking, and creating law and order problems in society. Prostitution, extortion, kidnapping, vehicle thievery, illegal peddling, smuggling, etc, are also associated with drug abuse. The tendency of suicide also emerges in an addict.
Causes of drug addiction may be due to family background/problems, peer groups, experimentation, and psychological as well as financial reasons.
In case there is an addict in one’s family, one should consult a doctor, and provide moral and physical support to the addicted person and send them to a rehabilitation centre.
Coming to the crux of the issue, any person who is found indulging in production, possession, transportation, sale, purchase or any other involvement that shall lead to an offence under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, can be arrested and booked under the law by the police.
Persons involved in manufacturing illegal drugs, transshipment of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, dealing in trafficking of drugs outside the country, allowing one’s premises for the commission of offence, harbouring an offender or financing illicit trafficking, consumption of drugs, etc, can be booked by law.
A licensee or their employer, if found indulging in wrongdoing, can be booked by the police under the NDPS Act, 1985.
The punishment for offence involving small quantity of narcotic substances is upto one year’s rigorous imprisonment and/or a fine extending up to Rs 10,000.
The punishment for offence involving less than commercial quantity but greater than small quantity is upto 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and/or fine upto Rs 1 lakh.
The punishment for offence involving commercial quantity is rigorous imprisonment of not less than 10 years but up to 20 years, along with a fine not less than Rs 1 lakh but can be upto Rs 2 lakhs.
The state government is trying its best to curtail illegal drug trafficking and putting efforts to make the state free from illegal drug trafficking.
The law enforcing agency, which is the Arunachal Pradesh Police, is competent enough to combat the drug menace and is always at loggerheads with culprits involved in drug smuggling.
The need of the hour is to create awareness about the bad effects of drugs. Individual awareness about its ill-effects and consequences; parents and relatives awareness and support; involvement of non-governmental organizations; participation of representatives from the panchayat raj institution and the municipality, women’s organizations, student organizations, local traditional councils and gaon burahs at the village level can help check the growth of the drugs menace. (The contributor is Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ziro, Lower Subansiri district and a state government state gold medal recipient)