Drug Demand Reduction Programme in India: Recommendations for the Future

  • Sandra Joseph Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, Stella Maris College (Autonomous), Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Keywords: Drug dependents, drug policy, indigenous practices, decriminalization, NDPS Act, de-addiction centres, human rights, harm reduction


India is a welfare-based nation; therefore, it has an embedded responsibility to protect the marginalized communities. However, drug dependency has always been a hidden phenomenon. Focusing on the Indian scenario, this research critically analyses the implementation of the demand reduction programme, i.e. the National Scheme of Assistance for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse which emerged from Section 71 of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. Although the NDPS Act is prohibitionist in its approach and has criminalized the use of drugs, it has inculcated Section 71 of NDPS Act that stated the government can establish sufficient de-addiction centres for treatment and rehabilitation of drug dependents. In order to gain a broad understanding of the implementation the study covered a national perspective by including Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi and Mizoram representing Southern, Western, Northern and North East regions of the country respectively. The treatment and rehabilitation services were analyzed categorically and thematically by posing specific standards such as availability, accessibility, quality and Protection of Human Rights.

It was learnt that at the regional and community level, no autonomous body was set up for implementation of treatment and rehabilitation, treatment was envisaged through correctional angle, huge gaps in extension of financial support to existing de-addiction centres, weak preventive measures, ineffective training of staff, restricted admission for high risk drug dependents, diverse cases of human rights violation, mismanagement of withdrawal symptoms and prevalence of minimal harm reduction measures. However, on the positive side, the best practices are also being recorded with ongoing study such as positive impact of meditation, yoga therapy, life coaching based on emotional intelligence among other indigenous practices. The focus of this article is to provide a knowledge framework to enhance the quality of policy formulation and disseminate recommendations of the study with the hope that policy makers and practitioners and other concerned stakeholders are better informed of the situation so as to make a positive change in the lives of the users and the society at large.

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How to Cite
Joseph, S. (2019). Drug Demand Reduction Programme in India: Recommendations for the Future. Shanlax International Journal of Arts, Science and Humanities, 7(2), 103-113. https://doi.org/10.34293/sijash.v7i2.825