December 13, 2021
Aparupa Poddar speaks on The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2021
Thank you, Chairman Sir, for giving me a chance to speak on The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2021. Though it is a very small Bill and a very small amendment, it is a crucial amendment, brought by the Government to correct a drafting error. The Act regulates certain operations such as manufacture, transport and consumption related to narcotics drugs and psychotropic substances. The Bill aims to amend only a small aspect but the problem our country is facing is on account of the increase in consumption of drugs and through it, the youth destroying their future. The total number of suicides due to drugs and alcohol addiction, if we see check the data for the years 2018, 2019 and 2020, have increased and the number of cases registered under the NDPS Act has also increased. The currently jailed undertrials are 2,58,883, out of which those booked under the NDPS Act alone is 27,072. It is a huge number.
The figures point to the dangerous picture of how, through drug abuse, the young generation is destroying its future. The Government has to take steps regarding this and I have a few suggestions regarding this. The National Mental Health Survey 2015-16 shows a treatment gap of more than 70 per cent for the drug use disorder. The recent nationwide survey on substance use disorder has replicated the result, with even a slight increase in the treatment gap, of 75 per cent. Added to this is the miserable situation of just about 5 per cent of the people with drug use disorder receiving in-patient care. This large treatment gap indicates the poor accessibility, utilisation and quality of healthcare. To meet their needs, one should expand the treatment and rehabilitation, specifically with respect to drug use disorder. I would request the Government to sanction more rehabilitation centres.
The Union Social Justice Ministry recently proposed an important amendment to the Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substance Act, to treat those apprehended with small quantities of drugs as victims rather than culprits. The Government should take note of it.
The stringent provision in section 37 of the NDPS Act, where a court cannot grant bail unless it has reasonable ground to believe that the accused would not commit another offence, is problematic. If we see the prisoner statistics, we see there is an increase in prisoners charged under the NDPS Act. I request that there should be a reform in section 37 because the number of cases that have been using it is increasing, and also because the section can be easily used to victimise anyone, generally or as a political tool. We also have to think about the families of these prisoners. Many of the prisoners belong to very poor families and so they cannot afford judicial charges. With this, I conclude.
Thank you, Sir.