It will lead to reduction in crime, improvement in public health

The Union Cabinet at a meeting on Thursday approved a policy on narcotic drugs to check illicit production of psychotropic substances, curb drug abuse and halt trafficking of such items as they constitute a major component of black money proliferation. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) policy, approved by the Cabinet, “will lead to reduction in crime, improvement in public health and uplift of the social milieu.”

According to an official statement, the policy “attempts to curb drug abuse and contains provisions for treatment, rehabilitation and social re-integration of victims of drug abuse”.

Under the policy, the private sector may be allowed to produce alkaloids — chemical substances used in the pharmaceutical industry — from opium and products from poppy straw. Hitherto, alkaloids from opium are made only in government-owned opium and alkaloid units. To check illicit cultivation of poppy and cannabis, the government will use satellite imageries to detect and eradicate such crops. The policy lays emphasis on developing alternative means of livelihood for growers.

The policy follows Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's intent stated in his last budget speech to strengthen control over trafficking of narcotic material.

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