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Drug abuse amidst pandemic

  • IASbaba
  • June 26, 2020
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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SECURITY/ GOVERNANCE/ ECONOMY

Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • Security challenges and their management in border areas 
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

Drug abuse amidst pandemic

Context: In Punjab, there has been 23% rise in addict registrations since Covid outbreak

Did You Know?

  • Around 269 million people used drugs in 2018, up 30% from 2009, with adolescents and young adults accounting for the largest share of users
  • Development assistance dedicated to drug control fell by some 90% between 2000-2017. 

Why India is vulnerable to trafficking of narcotics?

  • India is sandwiched between the ‘Golden Crescent’ and the ‘Golden Triangle’, the major opium production regions in the world
  • The Golden Crescent region of the South Asia comprises Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. 
  • The Golden Triangle is the area where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong rivers.
  • The bumper harvests of opium in Afghanistan for the last few years have given rise to increased supply of heroin in the subcontinent
  • The combination of darknet and courier/postal deliveries have made the narco/psychotropic trafficking more anonymous in nature

Image Source: Here

Consequences of pandemic on Drugs usage

  • Increased Substance abuse: The economic downturn caused by the global pandemic may drive more people to substance abuse 
  • Anti-social activities: Many people will be vulnerable to involvement in drug trafficking and related crime as their incomes became dry during lockdown period
  • Inattention and neglect: Governments will reduce budgets to deal with drug-related problems in the wake of reduced government revenues post-COVID-19 pandemic 
  • Dangers of increase in use of synthetic drugs: In the global recession that followed the 2008 financial crisis, drug users sought out cheaper synthetic substances and patterns of use shifted towards injecting drugs. 
  • Increase in drug use disorders: Only one out of eight people who need drug-related treatment receive it, according to the World Drug Report 2020. Some 35.6 million people suffer from drug use disorders globally.
  • Prevents shift by farmers: Assistance for alternative development — creating viable, legal forms of income to enable poor farmers to stop growing illicit opium poppy or coca — will remain low.
  • Increased transnational drug trafficking: National governments efforts will be focused on reviving domestic economies and this may hamper multi-lateral cooperation on cracking drug trade
  • Disproportionate impact on weaker sections: 
    • One out of three drug users is a woman but women represent only one out of five people in treatment. 
    • People in prison settings, minorities, immigrants and displaced people also face barriers to treatment due to discrimination and stigma.

Way Ahead

  • Greater investment in evidence-based prevention, as well as treatment and other services for drug use disorders
  • International cooperation to increase access to controlled drugs for medical purposes and to strengthen law enforcement action to dismantle the transnational organised crime networks.
  • Health-centred, rights-based and gender-responsive approaches to drug use and related diseases deliver better public health outcomes. 

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