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GoM to meet on May 15 to examine draft national policy for drugs

The GoM aims at addressing the problem of drug and substance abuse in the country and was constituted by the Prime Minister in September last year.

business Updated: May 08, 2017 18:47 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
New Delhi
GoM,Rajnath Singh,drugs
(Reuters photo)

A Group of Ministers (GoM) which has been constituted to examine the draft national policy for drug demand reduction will be meeting for the first time on May 15.

The GoM aims at addressing the problem of drug and substance abuse in the country and was constituted by the Prime Minister in September last year.

Led by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, it comprises eight other union ministers including Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, Health Minister J P Nadda, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, among others.

The policy for drug demand reduction was redrafted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in January on directions from the PMO, which had found the original draft to be “very lengthy”.

“It was then sent to the Cabinet, around May last year and the PMO had formed the GoM in September to examine the various aspects of the draft policy,” a senior official in the ministry of social justice said.

The draft policy mainly focuses on the treatment and rehabilitation aspect of the victims apart from the covering two broad areas -- the illicit drugs including cannabis, heroin and opium and the other, pharmaceutical preparations like tranquilisers and inhalants.

“The objective of the policy is to undertake drug demand reduction efforts to address all forms of drug use, including misuse and dependence, to create awareness about the ill- effects of drugs abuse on the individual, family, workplace and the society at large,” the official said.

The aim is also to ensure that stigmatisation and discrimination against groups and individuals dependent on drugs is actively discouraged in order to integrate them back into the society.

The draft policy also emphasises on strengthening coordination among various regulatory agencies concerned to check the diversion of substances from lawful channels to illicit networks, including internet pharmacies.

It also aims to provide for a whole range of community based services for identification, motivation, counselling, de-addiction, after care and rehabilitation for Whole Person Recovery (WPR) of addicts and facilitate research, training, documentation and collection of relevant information to strengthen the above mentioned objectives.

According to government data, it is estimated that there were approximately 87 lakh cannabis users and 20 lakh opiate users in India in 2001.

The ministry in collaboration with National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) under the AIIMS is already conducting a national survey to find the extent and pattern of substance use.

The survey would be conducted over a representative population of over 6 lakh, comprising samples from all states and union territories.

First Published: May 08, 2017 18:47 IST