Alcohol and Drug Abuse In India: Causes Effect and Control

By Subodh Kumar Tewari

New Delhi, March 22, 2013 (Washington Bangla Radio / PIB India) Launching its flagship world drug report 2012, United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) said, "Heroin, cocaine and other drugs continue to kill around 200,000 people a year, shattering families and bringing misery to thousands of other people, insecurity and the spread of HIV".

Enormity of substance abuse problem in India is no less different. Its magnitude can well be understood with a survey, over a decade back pointing out that over 73 million persons were using alcohol and drugs.

The geographical location of the country further makes it highly vulnerable to the problem of drug abuse and despite a number of provisions it is rising unchecked.

Article 47 of the Indian Constitution provides that "... the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health."

Also the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, was enacted to curb drug abuse with its section 71 containing provision for setting up of rehabilitation and treatment centres for addicts.

Besides, India being a signatory to three related United Nations Conventions, is under an international obligation to, curb drug abuse.

Not lagging behind on the front, the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has been implementing the Scheme of Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drug) Abuse since 1985-86.

The Scheme, which was revised twice in 1994 and 1999, at present provides financial support to NGOs and employers mainly for creating Awareness and Preventive Education, Drug Awareness and Counselling Centres (CCs), Treatment- Cum- Rehabilitation Centres (TC), Workplace Prevention Programme (WPP), De-addiction Camps (ACDC), NGO forum for Drug Abuse Prevention Innovative Interventions etc.

Apart from this, the Ministry takes up awareness generation programme every year disseminating information, education and communication (IEC) materials, organizing programmes in schools and community, holding exhibitions and publishing newsletters and journals.

At present there are about 41 CCs and 401 TCs are functioning with the support of the ministry in the country.

Besides, a large number of NGO’s are involved in this endeavour, Ministry of social Justice and Empowerment notified in December last year a scheme of National Awards for Outstanding Services in the field of Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drug) Abuse, in order to recognize the efforts and encourage excellence in the field of prevention of substance abuse and rehabilitation of its victims.

The Scheme is applicable to institutions and individuals working in this field. Under the scheme, awards will be presented every year to the most effective or outstanding services rendered as individuals as well as institutions in the prevention of abuse of alcohol; narcotic drugs; psychotropic substances and other addictive substances.

The awards will be presented every year, on the 26th June, which has been declared by the United Nations as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The awards will be given in ten different categories to institutions and individuals. The awards will include cash prize ranging from one lakh to five lakh rupees. In the Institutional Category the awards will be for

  • Best Integrated Rehabilitation Centre for Addicts (IRCA) for providing  rehabilitation services   to alcoholics and drug users.
  • Best Regional Resource and Training Centre (RRTC) providing exemplary contribution in the field of prevention of addiction.
  • Best Panchayati Raj or Municipal Body working for prevention of alcoholism and Substance (drug) abuse.
  • Best Educational Institution doing outstanding works in Awareness generation and prevention of alcoholism and Substance (drug) abuse.
  • Best Non-Profit organization like an NGO or Self Help Group, Trust or community based set up.
  • Best Research or Innovation for an Institution which has conducted research on issues related to addiction and has developed new techniques on treatment and preventive modules, etc or  have undertaken innovative measures for prevention of addiction and evolved techniques to identify early phase addicts.
  • Best Awareness Campaign for outstanding awareness campaign through consistent and comprehensive coverage on addiction related issues on sustained basis, to be awarded to any institution or organisation other than an educational institution.

In the Individual Category awards will be for

  • Outstanding individual achievement by a professional such as general duty or specialist medical doctor  including psychiatrist, treatment and rehabilitation professional, psychologist, clinical psychologist, skill trainer who has made outstanding achievement in the field of prevention of alcoholism and substance (drug) abuse and rehabilitation of addicts.
  • Outstanding individual achievement by a nonprofessional such as activist, students leader, etc. who has made outstanding achievement in the field of prevention of alcoholism and substance (drug) abuse and rehabilitation of addicts.
  • Former Addict, who has done outstanding work in the field of awareness generation or de-addiction or rehabilitation for a former addict.

Besides, de-addiction (rehab) camps are organized regularly to reach out to uncovered areas.

The Ministry has also set up a National Centre for Drug Abuse Prevention (NCDAP) in the National Institute of Social Defence (NISD) for capacity building and training of NGOs running CCs and TCs.

It is also supporting eight NGOs working in the field of drug abuse prevention to function as Regional Resource and Training Centres (RRTCs).

Pursuant to the Central Government has already approved the revised scheme (Scheme for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drugs) Abuse, 2008) to create awareness and educate people about the ill-effects of alcoholism and substance abuse on individual, family, workplace and society at large and to provide for the whole range of community based services for the identification, motivation, counselling, de-addiction, after care and rehabilitation for WPR of addicts.

However, there is a need to revise the allocations as not many Five-Year Plans went without it. The Consumer Price Index has witnessed more than 100% increase while infrastructure and logistics costs have also gone up.

The cost of drugs and services including substitute therapy require higher expenditure in addition to the need for revising the renumeration structure of professionals to be engaged on par with those engaged by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

There is no provision in the existing Scheme for providing living expenses (especially food) for the admitted addicts, necessary in the case of addicts from BPL families, street children, beggars and other vulnerable sections of the society.

It was felt that there is a need to incorporate the concept of Whole Person Recovery (WPR) in the objectives of the Scheme.

It aims at not just getting the addicted individual off alcohol or drugs but to ensure that the person is 'drug free, crime free and gainfully employed'.

The WPR objectives include adaptation to work and responsibility, social re-integration, personal growth and self acceptance and acceptance of higher values.

(PIB Features.)

Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author in this article are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of PIB or WBRi.