SC directive to formulate plan to combat drug abuse amongst children
The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the central government to formulate a National Action Plan to combat drug abuse amongst children and undertake a survey to know the extent of the menace and for effective policy intervention. Hearing a petition by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan, which had besides other things sought setting up of district level drug addiction centres, the apex court expressed concern over the growing menace of the drug abuse amongst children.
The bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice A.M.Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud directed the government to undertake a nationwide survey to identify the prevalence of drug abuse across the country.
"Complete a national survey and generate a national data base within a period of six months", the court said in its three directions.
Justice Chandrachud, speaking for the bench said, "Generation of reliable data is an essential requirement of a policy aimed at curbing substance abuse. In the absence of accurate data at a national, state and sector level, policy interventions can at best remain ad hoc as in the absence of data there will be no realistic assessment of the nature and extent of policy interventions required."
"It is only through such a survey there can be an assessment of vulnerable states and regions; high risk populations; requirement of infrastructure, including de-addiction centres across the states: requirement of trained man power; and requirement of rehabilitation, treatment and counselling services," the court said. It gave four months time to the government to put in place the National Action Plan, which will also address the areas of immediate concern noted earlier.
Asking both the Centre and the state governments to create awareness about the serious consequences of the drug abuse, the court directed the Centre to include in the school curriculum the subject on harmful effects of using drugs.
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