The ministry had commissioned a comprehensive national survey to establish the magnitude of substance use in 2018. Conducted by the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) AIIMS, the survey became the basis of the National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR) formulated for 2018-25 to tackle the menace in the country.
Drugs can destroy a society, even a country. In some states in India, it has become an epidemic. The standing committee is right in raising concerns over inadequate fund allocations and gaps in the national campaign to eliminate drugs. Surveys do help in understanding a problem. But delaying an effective action plan against drugs would defeat the purpose behind such surveys.
As per the survey, about 16 crore of Indian population between 10 and 75 years (14.6%) of age use alcohol. At a national level, there were as many as 19% of the current users of alcohol who consume alcohol in a dependent pattern; 20 lakh juveniles below the age of 17 consume cannabis and about 2.2 crore individuals (2.1% of the country’s population) uses opioids which include opium. The ministry had carried out a national survey in 2018 on the magnitude of substance use in India.
The standing committee on social justice and empowerment, while taking note of these findings and the measures thereafter, in its the report presented in Parliament has observed that “the committee firmly believe that addiction to any drug substance not only affects a person’s health and well-being but also has a profound negative impact on the family members and on the society as a whole.” Hence, the 31-member committee led by BJP member Rama Devi in the report – “Drug abuse among young persons – problems and solutions”, has sought that the ministry should carry out a study.