No move to decriminalise first time drug offenders

There will be no amendments to the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act, 1985, to decriminalise personal consumption of drugs, officials said after the first deliberations on the matter by the Central and State Anti-Narcotics Task Force.

Officials said it has been observed from a study carried out in countries facing major drug challenges that decriminalising the law does not resolve the problem and instead an estimated 70% of population in these countries, mostly youths, were addicted to drugs. Several non-governmental organisations and civil society groups have called for amending the NDPS Act and decriminalising section 27 of NDPS Act, 1985, for first-time users.

During the two-day conference, discussions were held on how to curb the use of dark net and cryptocurrency, use of modern tech such as block chain analysis, intelligence mapping and digital forensics, among others.

According to the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), the number of NDPS cases registered increased 181% to 3,544 in 2014-22 from 1,257 in 2006-13, while the number of people arrested during the period surged to 5,408 from 1,363 persons. Similarly, the value of drugs seized in 2014-22 was estimated to be ₹22,000 crore, as compared to ₹768 crore in 2006-13, a whopping increase of 30 times. The drugs seized during this period increased to about 373,000 kg from about 152,000 kg.

As many as 60-70 per cent of drugs consumed in India are smuggled into the country mainly through the sea route,said the NCB.

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