India has three million drug addicts, say experts

June 26th, 2008 - 11:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, June 25 (IANS) Around three million Indians are projected victims of different kinds of drug abuse, but excluding alcohol dependents. This was revealed at an interactive session on “International drug abuse and illicit trafficking” at a leading hospital here Thursday. The session, at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Science and Research (PGIMER), was aimed at discussing the escalating drug trafficking and addiction problem in Chandigarh and surrounding areas.

K.C. Verma, former director general of Narcotics Control Bureau, said there is a closely knit network of drug trafficking in the region.

“Cutting across the geographical boundaries, it is smuggled from Punjab to Chennai to Colombo to the US. Price of heroin rises from two and a half lakh rupees (Rs.250,000) to over 1 crore (Rs.10 million) per kg once it reaches the US,” said Verma.

“To curb this menace, there is a dire need to implement Drugs and Cosmetics Act in true spirit. This business is dreadfully deep-rooted in the society as the UN has also estimated that revenue generated by illegal drugs trafficking is over $540 billion,” added Verma.

“Drug abuse is on the rise among youth and teenagers of Chandigarh and surrounding areas. Parents spending less time with their children, anxiety, frustration, stressful lifestyle can be the reasons behind adoption of drugs by city youths,” said S.K. Jain, Inspector General of Police of Chandigarh.

It was revealed that rural youth are more vulnerable to drug usage than urban youth and 73 percent of drug addicts in Punjab are between 16 to 35 years. The most affected area in Punjab is Malwa belt where 70 percent of youth, including a good number of girls, are drug addicts.

“Every year we are seizing huge quantities of narcotics and psychotropic substances, including smack, charas, poppy husk, opium, cocaine and many medicinal injections and drugs. The number of arrested criminal involved in drug trafficking is also high,” added Jain.

In 2006, the Chandigarh police arrested 186 people and registered 181 cases under anti-drugs laws. Similarly in the year 2007, 150 people were arrested and 144 cases were registered.

Seizures of drugs by the Chandigarh police are also swelling. In 2007, 1.7 kg smack, 68 kg of ganja, 30 kg of charas, 85 kg of poppy husk and around 1 kg of opium were seized in Chandigarh and surrounding areas. police officials said.

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