SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION
Drug (substance) abuse has become a worldwide menace. No part of the world is free from the curse of drug addiction. Drug abuse has emerged as a serious concern, adversely affecting the physical and socio-economic well-being of the country. It has enormous presence on public health across various sections of society. The epidemic of drug abuse in younger generation has assumed alarming dimensions in India. The stress and strain of the modern-day life has rendered the individual more vulnerable to the problem of substance abuse. Addiction to alcohol/drugs not only affects the individual involved, but also the family and society at large.
Recognising the seriousness of the multi-faceted implications of the incidence of substance abuse in the country, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has been implementing the scheme of prevention of alcoholism and substance abuse through the National Action Plan on Drug Demand Reduction. It provides a host of services, including awareness generation, counseling, treatment and rehabilitation of dependents (addicts). The programme emphasizes on a community-based prevention approach through educational programmes and services for drug dependent persons and their caregivers.
Magnitude of the problem According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 2018 survey on drug use among the general population, the extent of drug use among youngsters remains higher than that of older people. Exceptions have been reported, though, with the traditional use of drugs such as opium or khat. Most researches suggest that early (12-14 years old) to late (15-17 years old) adolescence is a critical-risk period for the initiation of substance use and that substance use may peak among young people aged 18-25 years.
According to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment’s recently released report on the “National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in India” (2019), the magnitude of substance use is:
• 16 crore people (14.6%) between the age of 10 and 75 years are current users of alcohol, and out of them, 5.2% are alcohol dependents.
• About 3.1 crore individuals (2.8%) are cannabis users, and 72 lakh (0.66%) people suffer from cannabis problems.
• Overall opioid users 2.06% and nearly 0.55% (60 lakh) require treatment services/health
• 1.18 crore (1.08%) are current users of sedatives (non-medical use).
• 1.7% of children and adolescents are inhalant users as compared to adults of 0.58%. Nearly 18 lakh children need help for inhalant use.
• It is estimated that about 8.5 lakh people are injecting drugs (PWID – people who inject drugs)
Protecting children from the widespread prevalence of substance abuse is one of the biggest policy challenges being faced by India. Recent reports, of both official and private agencies, indicate that there has been a substantial increase in the prevalence of use and abuse of substances in young children.
The immediate need is to consider how children should be sensitised (having due regard for the age and stage of the child) to the dangers of drug use, the necessity to report drug use and the need to develop resistance to prevailing peer and social pressures.
This requires comprehensive prevention and control programmes in schools and the community, targeted towards school and college students, teachers and family members. Effective measures are required to encourage the shaping of the attitude of schoolchildren toward self-confidence and adequacy, so as to prevent risk behaviour among adolescents and children.
In accordance with the spirit of the United Nations Conventions and the existing Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, and NDPS Policy, 2012, the Ministry has prepared a National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR) for 2018-2023. NAPDDR aims to focus on preventive education, awareness generation, identification, counseling, treatment and rehabilitation of drug dependent persons and training and capacity building of the service providers through collaborative efforts of the Central and State Governments and Non-Governmental Organizations.
The National Institute of Social Defence (NISD), an autonomous body of MSJ&E, has been given the responsibility of implementing the activities of NAPDDR. One of the core activities of NISD under NAPDDR is to organise awareness creation and sensitisation programmes, and to impart orientation and capacity building trainings to various target groups. These include students and teachers of schools and colleges, officials of prisons, police, correctional institutions and child protection institutions, PRIs, NYKs and NSS, etc., to formulate effective intervention modules and worked out strategies for tackling the issues of substance abuse and brings about qualitative improvements in service delivery. The basic premise of NAPDDR is to provide universal prevention measures which address the entire population with messages and programmes aimed at preventing or delaying the use of substances. This effort should also facilitate to deter the onset of substance use by providing individuals with the information and skills necessary to prevent the problem of substance use in their respective settings.
The aforesaid efforts, therefore, is to realise the following objectives of NAPDDR:
1. Create awareness and educate people about the ill-effects of substance abuse on the individual, the family, workplace and the society at large and reduce stigmatisation of and discrimination against groups and individuals dependent on drugs in order to integrate them back into the society.
2. Develop human resources and build their capacity for working towards these objectives.
3. Facilitate research, training, documentation, innovation and collection of relevant information to strengthen the objectives.
4. Provide holistic community-based services for the identification, motivation, counseling, de-addiction, aftercare and rehabilitation for the Whole Person Recovery (WPR) of addicts.
The programmes will be carried out through collaborative efforts of other Central Ministries, State Governments, Universities, Training Institutions, NGOs and other voluntary organisations.
The following have been enlisted under the NAPDDR:
1. School and college students
2. Teachers, counsellors and teaching faculty of school and colleges
3. Functionaries of IRCAs and professionals in drug prevention sector etc.
4. Service providers, both in Government, Semi-Government and Non-Government Settings
5. Representatives of PRIs and ULBs, police functionaries, paramilitary forces, judicial officers, bar council etc. on drug abuse prevention
6. Staff in Prisons and Juvenile Homes and ICPS functionaries.
Aims and Objectives
The main activities of NCDAP Division in the field of substance abuse prevention are:
• Capacity building of various levels of functionaries working in the field of substance demand reduction
• Updation of information and establishment of appropriate database and monitoring systems
• Development of linkages, facilitating advocacy, and promoting networking arrangements in the field of substance demand reduction at local, regional, national and international levels
• Developing programmes for preventive education to control the incidence and spread information about the ill-effects of substance and alcohol abuse
• Activities of the NAPDDR