August , 2018
Countering drug addiction
15:30 pm

B.E. Bureau

The illegal trafficking of drugs is part of the global black market, which deals with the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of drugs that are prohibited by law. In the global scenario, there have been cases of death penalty to combat drug smugglers. Dilip Kumar Srivastava, Zonal Director, Kolkata Zonal Unit, Narcotics Control Bureau, spoke to BE’s Kuntala Sarkar about how his bureau is countering the increasing market of illegal drugs.Q. What are the different types of drugs?A. There are mainly two types of drugs, namely, synthetic drugs and natural drugs. Cultivation of natural drugs as poppy and cannabis is very popular in India. Poppy cultivation is legal only in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in India. Opium is extracted from poppy and then gets converted into morphine. Codeine, a medicinal substance extracted from poppy, is used to make pain killers. Weed and charas, the two drugs that can be extracted from the cannabis plants and other than these, coca plants grow in the South American countries. Then after processing it gets converted into cocaine, which is the costliest drug in India.Q. How can a drug addict be identified?A. The psychotropic substances, known as synthetic drugs as LSD, MD and Ya Ba are easy to conceal because these drugs don’t release any particular type of smell like natural drugs. So natural drugs can be easily identified and located. The smell from the natural drugs can be detected from the bodies of the consumers and their facial expressions. The synthetic drugs are mostly used in high profile parties from where the dealers can be arrested.Q. Which age group do you think is mostly affected or influenced by drugs and why?A. The young generation is the most influenced because they are convinced by the traffickers that the drugs would help them to restore more energy for their study or any other work. We have handled cases where the parents said that their children were very good students and got surprised to know that they used to consume drugs. LSD, available in small papers like cartoon stickers are making the parents confused about even identifying those as drugs. MDs are delivered in a manner that they look like chewing gums or candies. The internal family relations of the children with their parents can also push the generation to get addicted. Even to curb tension, the young generation is using drugs as a pathway. The children coming from an upper middle class or higher cluster of society are falling into this in maximum cases. To prevent this, the parents should restrict their children from taking unnecessary money and huge expenditure they are making without any consent of the seniors.Q. How are the people affected economically under the influence of drugs?A. When people start taking drugs, he or she must go away from their families. The cheapest drug available is weed. This approximately cost Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000 per kg. So the consumers are getting affected economically when they are getting addicted to this on a daily basis. Then they start robbing their family or others for money. Some of them get involved in the drug rackets to make profit and gradually they become dealers. There is an economic chain of traders and traffickers. If we talk about the country’s broader scale of economy, the drug market generates huge revenue for the producers and manufacturers, but by illegal means.Q. What punishments are there for someone accused of drug dealing?A. The Narcotics Control Bureau mainly focuses on the third level and above drug dealers to combat the maximum number of people in the business. The Government of India has fixed particular commercial amount for every kind of drugs. Any quantity of weed is not permitted to be carried anywhere in India. An addicted person or someone delivering below 1 kg of weed will be in jail for 6 months. If anyone is caught with 1 kg to 20 kg of weed, the person will be sentenced for a period of 1-10 years. For more than 20 kg of it, the punishment will be for 10 years or above. Otherwise the traffickers can be sentenced to be hanged for carrying a huge amount of drugs. We have recently arrested a Nigerian lady from Kolkata with MDs which were in form of packed candies.Q. Please share some insight on how drugs get circulated?A. At first someone cultivates the plants and then they sell these to the dealers for a high price. In state level the dealers deliver the products which earn them more revenues. After leaving the states these obtain more profit. There is a chain of traffickers in the market. The financers who invest money in the whole business bring out most of the profit that is 10 times more than their investments. Mainly the South American countries are the producers of drugs. The African countries deliver those products mostly through sea routes. Then the drugs get circulated to India as the transit point.Q.  Why Punjab is the most drug addicted state in India?A.  We can notice that Punjab is the most affected state in India on the basis of the drug market. The youth are the major target in society. Punjab was converted into the rich and developed states of India rapidly. People of other states are going to Punjab in search of jobs. Punjab has a cosmopolitan culture. Our neighbouring country Nepal is the second largest charas producing country in the world and some people there are exporting heroin drugs all over. If heroin is taken once, it has the power to make the person addicted for lifetime. Punjab has a huge demand of that kind of drug and the youths are getting addicted to it.Q. How is your bureau going beyond the traditional ways to eliminate the drug market?A. The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has two major functions. First we operate to reduce the demand of drugs in the market and we train other government departments to combat the traffickers. We develop the cases as strong as possible that those can stand in the court till the last. If we can not make the cases stand in the court then it will be communicated to society that the cases were not valid. This has a negative impact on society. On the other hand we initiate awareness programmes tying up with NGOs to prevent the social disease of drug addiction. They go to villages, schools and colleges to create consciousness against drugs and convey the ill-affects of the same. I have also released a CD by putting up a few songs collaborating with Pranay Dutta’s NGO Sonata Foundation to build the social standpoint against drugs. 

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