Anti Drug Action Plan for 2020-21
On the occasion of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, an annual Anti-Drug Action Plan for 2020-21 for 272 districts of India was launched by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The plan includes awareness generation programmes, identification of drug-dependent population, focus on treatment facilities and capacity-building for service-providers to curb drug abuse and alcoholism.
The ministry also announced the launch of the ‘Nasha Mukt Bharat’, or Drug-Free India Campaign which focuses on community outreach programmmes. To step-up the battle against the severe challenge posed by drug use and alcoholism, the campaign will focus not just on institutional support but also on community outreach programmes in the districts identified in coordination.
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Main objective of the Action Plan for 2020-21:
The action plan aims at addiction-free India by countering the growing menace especially across colleges and universities. However, there is a need to design a more targeted campaign against drugs and substance abuse. Addiction should not be seen as a character flaw, but as an ailment that any other person could be struggling with. Therefore, the stigma associated with drug taking needs to be reduced through social awareness and voluntary processes like medical help by psychologists, as well as strong support from family.
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Important points of Action Plan for 2020-21:
- The action plan would be set up in the “most affected” 272 districts identified by the Narcotics Control Bureau focussing on building up treatment and de-addiction facilities and giving emphasis on reaching the youth and high risk population. The districts mostly belong to Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and the North-East.
- The focus will be on setting up drop-in-centres for addicts and also on peer-led community based outreach programmes for high risk populations – particularly the youth.
- These centres will have provision for screening, assessment and counselling and would provide linkage to treatment and rehabilitation services for drug dependents.
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Significance of Action Plan for 2020-21:
- Awareness and Sensitisation: Apart from celebrity backed ‘Say No to Drugs’ publicity campaigns, national level campaigns are planned across schools and higher education campuses to sensitise youngsters, parents and schools about the issue.
- Change in the Strategy: It introduces a new change in the strategy against drugs. So far, India has been focussed on institutions, however the new action plan focuses on work in society at large.
- Enhanced Funding: Ministry would ramp up greater funding for institutions to curb the drug abuse.
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National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, conducted a National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in India through the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi during 2018, which is key to the action plan for 2020-21.
It is estimated that about 850,000 Indians inject drugs, about 460,000 children and 7.7 million Indians require help for opioid dependence. As per the survey, the prevalence of opioids (a type of drug e.g. Heroin) use in India is three times the global average.
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Global Initiatives of Action Plan for 2020-21::
The United Nations with the aid of its anti-drug abuse arm, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) spreads awareness, urges governments to avoid stimulating the Narco economy and deal with the Illicit trafficking of drugs in the disguise of legal pharmaceutical businesses.
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