Finalising policy against drug abuse, govt. tells SC

Justice Dipak Misra. File photo: R.V. Moorthy

Justice Dipak Misra. File photo: R.V. Moorthy   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

Ministry tells Bench 18 States have responded to advisory

The Centre on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it is finalising a National Policy on Drug Demand Reduction to combat the rising menace of drug and alcohol abuse, especially among children.

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment informed a Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that 18 States have responded to an advisory sent by the Centre to formulate an action plan for combating drug abuse.

The Ministry, in an affidavit, said it had assigned the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre under the All India Institute of Medical Sciences to conduct a national survey on the extent and pattern of substance use. A final report is expected by March 2018.

The affidavit was on a petition filed by Telugu Yuva Shakti member Kethireddy Jagadeeswar Reddy, represented by advocate Sravan Kumar, for a CBI investigation in connection with the recent drug scandal involving Telugu celebrities. The petitioner had sought to highlight the spread of the menace of drugs to all levels of society.

The Ministry affidavit refers to the December 14, 2016 judgment of the Supreme Court which ordered the Centre to complete within six months a national survey and generate a national database on substance abuse. The court, speaking through Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, had said the harmful effects of drugs, alcohol and tobacco abuse among children should be made a specific content in the school curriculum under the aegis of New Education Policy proposed by the Centre.

The verdict quotes from the Census 2011 that 24 crore children, constituting 24% of the population of the country, are adolescent. “They constitute a vulnerable age group for social, educational, moral and physical development. Protecting children from wide-spread prevalence of substance abuse is one of the biggest policy challenges facing India,” it had observed.

The December 2016 judgment was based on a petition filed by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan highlighting that the fundamental rights of children, especially those suffering from and involved in substance use and abuse, were violated due to non-compliance with the government’s action plan for reduction in drug demand and supply.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 2:08:43 AM |

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