The Centre has submitted before the Madras High Court that the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has constituted a group of experts to prepare a “draft national policy on prevention of alcoholism and substance abuse and rehabilitation of its victims.” The panel is under the Chairmanship of Rajat Ray, Chief, National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC), All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

The Assistant Solicitor-General of India (ASG), J. Ravindran, submitted this in a memo filed before a Division Bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and K.K. Sasidharan when a writ petition by one A. Narayanan came up for hearing. The petitioner had prayed the court seeking a direction to the State and Central government authorities to treat the increasing trend of alcoholism as a public health issue and to regulate counselling centres. He also sought a direction to the government to start an agency and allocate adequate funds to fight alcoholism.

Mr. Narayanan said since alcoholism affected public health, necessary steps should be taken by the government.

The ASG said the panel is yet to submit its report to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Disposing of the petition, the Bench said since the group was seized of the matter it was of the view that the petitioner should be permitted to give his views and suggestions. It permitted the petitioner to provide necessary inputs to the group so as to enable it to come up with a comprehensive policy.

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