CRPF has decided to adopt a more lenient approach towards its personnel affected by drug abuse and alcoholism, which will no longer be treated as disciplinary matters, official sources said.
The paramilitary force, which plays a vital role in internal security, overhauled its policy on alcoholism and drug abuse recently as it felt the twin problems were not just a health hazard and could affect the security of the nation.
However, peddling in drugs and misbehaviour under the influence of alcohol will still invite punishment, the policy said.
The policy envisages treating drug abuse and alcoholism as a purely "personal and medical problem" and offers detoxifaction and rehabilitation of addicted employees under a veil of secrecy, sources said.
"Abuse of drugs and alcohol in the workplace is to be viewed as a personal/medical problem and requires medical attention/treatment and help, rather than a disciplinary problem," said the policy approved last week.
Under the new policy, counselling will be provided to affected personnel and their spouses to help them overcome the addiction. They will also be offered sufficient leave for de-addiction programmes.
However, refusal to undergo treatment, peddling in drugs and misbehaviour under the influence of alcohol will still invite punishment as they would be viewed as violation of discipline and misconduct, it said.
CRPF policy-makers believe the problem of alcoholism and drug abuse by personnel could be due to work pressure arising from deployment in extremely adverse situations and the tension of staying away from families.
The policy also draws attention to the danger of addicts becoming susceptible to HIV/AIDS infections, another area of concern for the force that has lost 400 personnel to the deadly disease in the past 13 years.
Another 300 are under treatment for HIV infections, and alarmingly most AIDS/HIV cases were detected in the northeast, where the force has been fighting insurgency for a long time.
The policy, however, is harsh on personnel relapse into drug or alcohol abuse and makes it clear that they will be referred for a de-addiction course for the second time at their own expense.
In case of further relapses, severe disciplinary action will follow.