Article 47 of the Constitution of India directs the State to regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties, and, in particular, to endeavour to bring about prohibition of consumption, except for medicinal purposes, of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health. Section 71 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (as amended) provides as under: “Power of Government to establish centres for identification, treatment, etc. of addicts and for supply of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances – The Government may, in its discretion, establish as many centres as it thinks fit for identification, treatment, education, after-care, rehabilitation, social re-integration of addicts ….. “
The Government may make rules consistent with this Act providing for the establishment, appointment, maintenance, management and superintendence of ….. the centres referred to in sub-section (1) and for the appointment, training, powers, duties and persons employed in such centres. Demand Reduction Strategy – A Welfare Approach The issues relating to drugs are tackled by the Government of India through its two-pronged strategy viz. supply reduction and demand reduction. Whereas the supply reduction is under the purview of the enforcement agencies with the Department of Revenue as the nodal agency, the demand reduction strategy is under the domain of social sector and the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment in Government of India is responsible for implementation of demand reduction strategy in the country.
Treatment and Rehabilitation of Addicts – Govt – NGO Collaboration The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, as the focal point for drug demand reduction programmes in the country, has been implementing the Scheme for Prohibition and Drug Abuse Prevention since the year 1985-86. As implementation of programmes for deaddiction and rehabilitation of drug addicts require sustained and committed/involved effort with a great degree of flexibility and innovation, a State-community (voluntary) partnership appears to be particularly strong mechanism for service delivery.
Accordingly, under the Scheme, while major portion of the cost of services is borne by the Government, the voluntary organisations provide actual services through the Counselling and Awareness Centres; Deaddiction cum Rehabilitation Centres, Deaddiction Camps, and Awareness Programmes. Awareness and Preventive Education The Counselling and Awareness Centers are engaged in a wide range of awareness generation programme in varied community settings including village panchayats, schools etc.
Besides these Centers, the Ministry has been actively utilizing the various media channels, print as well as audio-visual for educating the people on the ill effects of drug abuse and also disseminating information on the service delivery. The overall approach is based on the need to comprehensively address the widespread ignorance and lack of information on the ill- effects of drug abuse prevention/rehabilitation services and to build up a climate of abstinence from drugs through sensitising the community at large.
Training and Manpower Development – Development of Service Providers The Government has established a National Centre for Drug Abuse Prevention (NC-DAP) under the aegis of the National Institute of Social Defence, New Delhi, to serve as the apex body in the country in the field of training, research and documentation in the field of drug abuse prevention. The NC-DAP is mandated to serve as a Centre of Excellence in the region with an in-house team of experts as faculty, being complemented and supported by eminent experts and professionals as guest faculty.
Inter-Sectoral Collaboration The problem of alcoholism and drug abuse is a social malaise and is dealt holistically by targeting all spheres of human activity. The Government of India has been following an integrated approach involving all concerned Ministries and Departments who could complement and supplement the initiatives being taken by each other. The initiatives being taken include imparting education on drugs and positive alternative to the youth through appropriate modification in school curriculum and sensitisation of school environment.
Programmes are being developed for the sensitisation of the teachers, parents and the peer groups in a school environment through the participation of the Non-Government Organisations. The cooperation of the media and various youth organisations has also been solicited for dissemination of information on ill effects of alcohol/drugs and in engaging the community in positive/healthy alternatives.
International Cooperation – An Enrichment Process. The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, in collaboration with the International Labour Organization and UNODC, implemented a project on “Developing Community Drug Rehabilitation and Workplace Prevention Programmes”, to sensitise and train the voluntary organisations and workplace settings on prevention of alcoholism and substance abuse in workplace. It is viewed that the work environment of an individual is the most important area of preventive intervention for a potential addict as he still enjoys economic security. The loss of a job further aggravates the addictive behaviour.
This aspect was not getting its due importance under the on-going programme. With the sincere efforts made under the project, a number of corporate institutions have also volunteered their involvement in the project. This was followed up with two community-based interventions in collaboration with UNODC and ILO, namely: 1. Community Wide Demand Reduction in India 2. Community Wide Demand Reduction in North-Eastern States of India The projects have adopted a comprehensive approach to the development of the target communities of these States.