Draft policy on drug demand reduction withdrawn from Cabinet to include new survey data

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New Delhi:

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has withdrawn the draft National Drug Demand Reduction Policy from the Cabinet so as to include data from an ongoing national survey on the extent and pattern of substance use.

A decision in this regard was taken as the survey is likely to be completed soon.

The survey being conducted by the ministry in collaboration with the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) under the AIIMS is already underway to reach an estimated figure on the number of people in the country who are into drug use.

“The survey is about to end. Already data from 24 states/UTs have been collected and submitted. Data collection from 12 states including West Bengal, Goa, Sikkim and Chandigarh is still in process,” a senior Social Justice and Empowerment ministry official said.

The government plans to adopt 15 districts in the country on a pilot basis to implement an intensive action plan for de-addiction and make the districts drug-free, according to the draft Policy.

The draft policy also proposed regulation of over the counter sale of sedatives and pain killers with the involvement of departments concerned both at the Central as well as the state level.

The 15 districts which have been identified include Vishakhapatnam, Pune, Aizawl, Dibrugarh and Ludhiana.

Integrated and comprehensive action plan would be carried out in the pilot districts initially for a period of one year for reduction in number of drug addicts and make these districts drug free.

The draft policy proposes upgrading existing de-addiction centres in these pilot districts to treatment clinics to provide for both inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities.

Also, as part of the draft policy, de-addiction centres would be set up in 25 factories and major industrial establishments, 25 prisons, 25 juvenile homes and in 25 separate de-addiction centres for women in prisons.

The MSJE had forwarded the draft National Drug Demand Reduction Policy to the Union Cabinet in May after modifying the document as suggested by a Group of Ministers (GoM).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had directed the GoM, headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, to examine the draft national policy which seeks to address the problem of drug and substance abuse in the country.

The GoM comprised ministers of health, social justice and empowerment, women and child development, transport, and home affairs.

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