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Updated: February 7, 2012 00:50 IST

Pranab unveils national policy on narcotic drugs

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Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee releases a ational policy on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances in New Delhi on Monday. Photo: R.V. Moorthy
The Hindu
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee releases a ational policy on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances in New Delhi on Monday. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

The Union government on Monday unveiled a comprehensive policy on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, as announced by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee during the budget presentation last year.

The need for such a policy assumes significance in the light of the fact that trafficking in narcotic drugs also contributes to generation of black money in the country.

Unveiling the policy at a function here, Mr. Mukherjee said the deleterious effect of black economy, generated in the world through drug trafficking, could well be imagined and the money could finance several other forms of criminal activity, including terror financing and other forms of transnational organised crime.

“The policy released today, presents evidence of India's strong commitment and its intent to rise to the challenges posed by the drug menace. It also reflects the country's willingness to shoulder the responsibility that is cast upon it because of its strategic position, sandwiched between two major regions of the world producing illicit narcotics, and on account of being a traditional cultivator of illicit opium and a supplier of this raw material for medical and scientific needs of pharmaceutical industry, which makes use of such narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances to make critical medicines,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

The policy recommends the production of Concentrate of Poppy Straw (CPS) in India by a company or body corporate that would enable the country to retain its status of a traditional supplier of Opiate Raw Material (ORM) to the rest of world, while remaining competitive.

While the consumption of poppy straw by addicts is to be gradually reduced and finally stopped in a time frame decided by the States, the policy emphasises use of satellite imagery for detection of illicit poppy and cannabis crop and its subsequent eradication and development of alternate means of livelihood in respect of cultivators in pockets of traditional illicit cultivation.

Alongside, while the private sector may be allowed production of alkaloids from opium — at present alkaloids from opium are produced only in Government Opium and Alkaloid Factories (GOAFs) — non-intrusive methods of regulating the manufacture, trade and use of such psychotropic substances will be introduced.

The policy attempts to curb the menace of drug abuse and contains provisions for treatment, rehabilitation and social re-integration of victims of drug abuse. Implementation of the provisions of the policy will lead to reduction of crime, improvement in public health and uplifting of the social milieu.

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Why doesn't the government just admit that government prohibition is what leads to the black economy, not the people involved in that activity? With prohibition, the government announces that it shares a common interest with the drug distributors in maintaining high substance prices. A look at any Western country will reveal the truth. Cannabis use doesn't hurt society, and it promotes artistic creativity and "out of the box" thinking. People in India have been using this substance for 1,000's of years without harming anything, so why begin a fascist regime of oppression by prohibiting this harmless substance?
Before India rushes off to join the worst of nations in this misguided effort, it should think very carefully and consider its own history, and the more recent history of newer nations. Must the Indian state become an instrument of terror to its innocent people?

from:  James Bong
Posted on: Feb 7, 2012 at 22:59 IST
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