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Published : July 29, 2015 | Author : Krishna Bharadwaj H
Category : Drug laws | Total Views : 1718 | Rating :

  
Krishna Bharadwaj H
Sree Krishna Bharadwaj.H Advocate and Social Activist BBA. LL.B.,LL.M., PGDHRM
 

Controlling the drug menace in India- A Comparative Analysis with the US

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), drug dependence is a medical condition classified as a “multi-factorial health disorder that often follows the course of a relapsing and remitting chronic disease”. Since most of the countries around the globe are a part of the present international drug control mechanism, it can be declared that the international efforts in controlling the drug menace have paved the way. The international mechanisms have acted like a catalyst, in the sense that they have been helpful in the formation of national level policy and regulatory frameworks. There is now a certain degree of uniformity around the globe regarding how various nations look at and approach the problems related to narcotic drugs and psychoactive substances.

Need for the study:
Firstly, existing guidelines are sketchy; they elaborate neither administrative, clinical or human rights standards in managing drug dependence.  Secondly, Drug treatment in India largely remains unregulated, placing the health and safety of patients at risk. It has produced greater confusions such as what constitutes treatment; who should deliver it and how; who should monitor it and so on. Lastly, the emphasis for the reforms needed in national drug control strategies, policies, laws and other important matters such as inclusion of all the stake holders in this matter. Consequently, it has become very important for the country to come up with a broad-based legislation/policy related to use of narcotic drugs and psychoactive substances.

Differential controlling patterns between India and the US:

I. Control through legislations:

US: The regime of drug control in the US begins with the introduction of Pure Food and Drug Act, 1906, which regulated labeling of products containing certain drugs including cocaine and heroin. This was further extended with the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, 1914, regulating opiates and cocaine.  It then continues with the Marijuana Tax Act, 1937, providing  taxation of marijuana, Convention on Narcotics Treaty,1961, to control marijuana and Controlled SubstancesAct,1970 , scheduling list for drugs. The Controlled Substances Act, 1978 follows the Single Convention's lead in granting a public health authority a central role in drug scheduling decisions. It also includes a provision mandating that federal authorities control all drugs of abuse at least as strictly as required by the Single Convention.The U.S. Psychotropic Substances Act of 1978 was signed into law on November 10, 1978 as Public Law providing various classifications of psychotropic substances. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 was signed into law on November 18, 1988. Among its provisions, it established the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

India: The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985 (NDPS Act) sets out the statutory framework for drug law enforcement in India. This Act consolidates the erstwhile principal Acts, viz. the Opium Act 1857, the Opium Act 1878 and the Dangerous Drugs Act, 1930. The NDPS Act also incorporates provisions designed to implement India's obligations under various International Conventions. Certain significant amendments were made in the Act in 1989 to provide for the forfeiture of property derived from drug trafficking and for control over chemicals and substances used in the manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. In order to give effect to the statutory provisions relating to these substances, an order, namely the N.D.P.S. (Regulation of Controlled Substances) Order, was promulgated by the Government of India in 1993 to control, regulate and monitor the manufacture, distribution, import, export, transportation etc., of any substance which the Government may declare to be a 'controlled substance' under the Act. The statutory regime in India consequently covers drug trafficking, drug related assets as well as substances which can be used, in the manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Some further amendments were incorporated in the NDPS Act in 2001, mainly to introduce a graded punishment. Drug traffickers can be detained to prevent their illicit traffic through an executive order issue under the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988. Other laws include which indirectly have a control on drugs include the Poisons Act, 1919, the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, Pharmacy Act, 1948, the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act, 1954, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act etc.

II. Administration:

US: Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) was formed with the strategic goals: (1) to reduce the entry of illegal drugs into the United States; and (2) to minimize the impact of international crime on the United States and its citizens. The Bureau manages the Department of State’s Narcotics Rewards Program in close coordination with the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and other interested U.S. agencies.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was established on July 1, 1973, by Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1973. It proposed the creation of a single federal agency to enforce the federal drug laws as well as consolidate and coordinate the government's drug control activities. As a result, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD), the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE), and other federal offices merged to create the DEA. The DEA is headed by an Administrator of Drug Enforcement appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The Administrator reports to the Attorney General through the Deputy Attorney General. The Administrator is assisted by a Deputy Administrator, the Chief of Operations, the Chief Inspector, and three Assistant Administrators (for the Operations Support, Intelligence, and Human Resources Divisions). Other senior staff include the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Counsel.

The other empowered agencies include U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Marshals Service,U.S. Secret Service and World Justice Information Network.

India: The administration of the NDPS Act, 1985, as was with the predecessor Acts namely the Opium Act and the Dangerous Drugs Acts falls within the domain of the Department of Revenue, in the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Home Affairs. Various enforcement agencies under the Central Government namely the Border Security Force (BSF), Customs &Central Excise, Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Narcotics and the central Economic Intelligence Bureau are involved in the administration of this Act. Designated agencies under the NDPS Act to effect seizures of drugs are Narcotics Control Bureau, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, State Police, State Excise and Central Bureau of Investigations. Empowered agencies under the Customs Act, 1962 to interdict drugs include Coast Guard, Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, and Central Reserve Police Force. In order to achieve the coordination of the multiple disciplines, Narcotics Control Bureau was created under the authority the NDPS Act, by a Government notification of 17.3.1986.

III. Strategies and policies:

US: The U.S. Office of Drug Control Strategy releases the various strategies and policies such as U.S. Drug Control Strategy 2012 report on April 17, 2012, National Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy in January 2012, National Drug Threat Assessment, 2010. Department of Homeland Security Counternarcotics Doctrine was formed in the year 2010. The counternarcotics mission was to interagency, inter-departmental, and international in scope. Within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the counternarcotics effort crosses component lines, with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement playing major roles, and other components actively participating as well. Each DHS Component approaches its counternarcotics efforts as a subset of its broader mission.
India: The National Policy on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 2012 was framed on the prevention of illicit cultivation of poppy and cannabis, emphasizing the use of satellite imageries for detection of illicit crop and its subsequent eradication and development of alternate means of livelihood in respect of cultivators in pockets of traditional illicit cultivation.

IV. Institution level control:

US: Various institutions and services of the Government including the Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS), U.S. Embassy in Guatemala and other stations, National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS),National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA),National Institutes of Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA),U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They play a vital role in the drug control. For example, the National Institute on Drug Abusefulfills the function of limitation on production and distribution. NIDA administers a contract with the University of Mississippito grow a 1.5 acre (6,000 m²) crop of cannabis every other year; that supply comprises the only licit source of cannabis for medical and research purposes in the United States.The US laws and enforcement agencies are well equipped and developed with the proactive stages of combat.

India: National Academy of Customs Excise & Narcotics or NACEN is the apex institute of Government of India for capacity building in the field of indirect taxation. It also plays a vital role in international capacity building by imparting training to officers of various countries in the field of customs, drug laws and environment protection. In collaboration with United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime (UNODC), NACEN is imparting training on drug law enforcement to various Asian nations. The Government of India has entrusted NACEN the responsibility of knowledge exchange, experience sharing and training with various countries of the world.

Conclusion
In India, as a result of narrow interpretations of international drug control conventions and laws, there has not been enough gains in terms of reducing the negative health, social and economic consequences of drugs. On the other hand the societal cost of drug abuse is gradually increasing day by day. The reasons could be: firstly, India has been a country with long-standing, culturally-ingrained practices of using plant-based psychoactive substances (like opium and cannabis products), secondly, India is the single largest producers of licit opium in the world, thirdly India is surrounded by the regions with the large illicit production and use of opium and lastly India has been facing an ever-increasing problem of drug abuse and its relative consequences.

US, one of the most developed countries in the world, has a deep rooted approach towards the drug menace. Unlike India, it has numerous agencies entrusted with the control with a detailed plan and outlook over the abuse. The situation is viewed as a critical one in the US unlike India where the government is involved in its survival and those activities which produce a good public image which could help it for another term. US provide institutional level control at higher efficient methods of control. In India, the control is exercise mainly by the Bureau and no other institution is directly involved or created. One single administrative agency with too many loopholes in the Act and malfunctioning structure has made the traffickers and offenders easy to get away without any punishment. Hence, India needs to understand the implications made by the US Agencies in its society through its actions and policies and opt for a better administration and control over the drug abuse.  Affecting a known answer to a known problem is not done in India.

References:
1.Global Oneness, Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs - Regulation of cannabis - Encyclopedia II, February 12, 2015, available at:http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Single_Convention_on_Narcotic_Drugs_-_Regulation_of_cannabis/id/2119022( last visited: February 14, 2015)
2.National Academy of Customs Excise & Narcotics, About NACEN , January 18, 2015, available at:www.nacen.gov.in/details.asp?mid=20( last visited: February 15, 2015)
3.SharadaAvadhanam, Drug law enforcement course, February 10, 2007, available at:http://drugslaw.blogspot.in/2007/02/drug-law-enforcement-course-by-sharada.html( last visited: February 15, 2015)
4.Harjinder Singh, NDPS ACT - SCRulings, January 16, 2015, available at:https://sites.google.com/site/hsinghjudgementscom/home/ndps-act---sc-rulings( last visited: February 12, 2015)
5.NDPS Act, 1985
6.Dr. P P Singh Uppal, A textbook of Pharmacology( PV Books, Jalandhar, 2ndedition, 2010)
7.Department of Homeland Security, Department of Homeland Security Counternarcotics Doctrine, January 18, 2015, available at:http://www.dhs.gov/department-homeland-security-counternarcotics-doctrine( last visited: February15, 2015)
8.Press Information Bureau, National Policy on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, January 12, 2012, available at:http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=79513( last visited: February 15, 2015)
9.US Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, January 9, 2015, available at:http://www.state.gov/j/inl/index.htm( last visited: February 15, 2015)
10.US Department of State , Narcotics Rewards Program, January9, 2015, available at:http://www.state.gov/j/inl/narc/rewards/index.htm( last visited: February 14, 2015)
11.National Archives, Executive Order 11727-Drug law enforcement, January 18, 2015, available at:http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/codification/executive-order/11727.html(lastvisited february13, 2015)l
12.historymania,Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, January 10, 2015, available at:http://www.historymania.com/american_history/Single_Convention_on_Narcotic_Drugs( last visited February 15, 2015)
13.Council on Foreign Relations, National Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy, January 2012, available at:http://www.cfr.org/border-and-ports/national-northern-border-counternarcotics-strategy-january-2012/p27255( last visited: February 14, 2015)
14.Narcotics Control Bureau, Drug Control Strategy and Policy, January 20, 2015, available at:http://narcoticsindia.nic.in/NCB_DrugControl.htm (lastvisited: February 12, 2015)

# history mania, Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, January 10, 2015, available at:http://www.historymania.com/american_history/Single_Convention_on_Narcotic_Drugs( last visited February 15, 2015)
# Council on Foreign Relations, National Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy, January 2012, available at:http://www.cfr.org/border-and-ports/national-northern-border-counternarcotics-strategy-january-2012/p27255( last visited: February 14, 2015)
# Narcotics Control Bureau, Drug Control Strategy and Policy, January 20, 2015, available at:http://narcoticsindia.nic.in/NCB_DrugControl.htm (lastvisited: February 12, 2015)
# Dr. P P Singh Uppal, A textbook of Pharmacology, 20( PV Books,2ndedition, 2010)
# US Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, January 9, 2015, available at:http://www.state.gov/j/inl/index.htm( last visited: February 15, 2015)
# US Department of State , Narcotics Rewards Program, January9, 2015, available at:http://www.state.gov/j/inl/narc/rewards/index.htm( last visited: February 14, 2015)
# National Archives, Executive Order 11727-Drug law enforcement, January 18, 2015, available at:http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/codification/executive-order/11727.html(lastvisited february13, 2015)l
# SharadaAvadhanam, Drug law enforcement course, February 10, 2007, available at:http://drugslaw.blogspot.in/2007/02/drug-law-enforcement-course-by-sharada.html( last visited: February 15, 2015)
# Harjinder Singh, NDPS ACT - SCRulings, January 16, 2015, available at:https://sites.google.com/site/hsinghjudgementscom/home/ndps-act---sc-rulings( last visited: February 12, 2015)
# NDPS Act, 1985, Chapter II
# Department of Homeland Security, Department of Homeland Security Counternarcotics Doctrine, January 18, 2015, available at:http://www.dhs.gov/department-homeland-security-counternarcotics-doctrine( last visited: February15, 2015)
# Press Information Bureau, National Policy on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, January 12, 2012, available at:http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=79513( last visited: February 15, 2015)
# Global Oneness, Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs - Regulation of cannabis - Encyclopedia II, February 12, 2015, available at:http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Single_Convention_on_Narcotic_Drugs_-Regulation_of_cannabis/id/2119022( last visited: February 14, 2015)
# National Academy of Customs Excise & Narcotics, About NACEN , January 18, 2015, available at:www.nacen.gov.in/details.asp?mid=20( last visited: February 15, 2015)

 

The author can be reached at: krishnabharadwaj211@legalserviceindia.com




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