Centre submits plan to check drug abuse, says taken concrete steps

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New Delhi : The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that it has finalised the national plan to combat drug abuse amongst children and taken "substantial steps" in the nationwide survey to identify the prevalence of drug abuse across the country and generate a national data base.

Submitting the status report on the compliance of 2016 direction of the top court, Additional Solicitor General Pinki Anand told the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that the data collection has been completed in 31 states and Union Territories (UTs) and is in advance stage in the remaining five states and UTs.

Submitting the National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR), ASG Anand sought four months' time to complete the survey as directed by the top court by its December 14, 2016 judgment.

The National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction for 2018-2023 aims at reduction of adverse consequences of drug abuse through multi-pronged strategy involving education, de-addiction and rehabilitation of affected individuals and their families.

The NAPDDR focuses on preventive eduction, awareness generation, identification, counselling, treatment and rehabilitation of drug-dependent persons.

It also includes trainings and capacity building of the service providers through collaborative efforts of the Central and state governments and NGOs.

The court granted the Centre time till second week of February 2019 to complete the task.

The top court by its December 14, 2016 judgment had asked the Centre to formulate a national action plan to combat drug abuse amongst children and undertake a survey to know the extent of menace and for effective policy intervention.

Directing to "complete a national survey and generate a national data base within a period of six months", the court had said: "Generation of reliable data is an essential requirement of a policy aimed at curbing substance abuse."

"In the absence of accurate data at a national, state and sectoral level, policy interventions can at best remain ad hoc" as "...in the absence of data there will be no realistic assessment of the nature and extent of policy interventions required...", the court had said in 2016.

It is only through such a survey that there can be an assessment of vulnerable states and regions, high risk populations, requirement of infrastructure, including de-addiction centres across the states, requirement of trained manpower, and requirement of rehabilitation, treatment and counselling services, the court had said in 2016.