Substance abuse among young people has become a concerning issue in India.
Due to the changing cultural values, increasing economic stress and diminishing
supportive relationships, there has been an increase in drug use. The World
Health Organization (WHO) defines substance abuse as persistent or sporadic drug
use that is not consistent with accepted medical practices. This epidemic has
become a major public health concern throughout India and needs to be addressed
The global statistics on the illegal drugs market paints a concerning picture.
With an estimated annual turnover of approximately $500 billion, the illegal
drugs trade is the third-biggest enterprise in the world, falling only behind
the petroleum and arms industries. An alarming estimate of 190 million people
around the world are reported to be dependent on some form of illicit
In the present day, drug trafficking and addiction has become a global epidemic,
and there is no corner of the world that is left untouched by its malevolent
presence. This scourge has caused untold suffering for countless individuals; in
India, the problem of drug addiction is alarmingly rampant and continues to
worsen as time goes on. The lives of those addicted to drugs become an endless
cycle of misery, teetering between life and death.
A report by the United Nations has estimated that up to five million people are
addicted to heroin in India, with one million of these individuals having been
officially registered. Initially, only the affluent youth of metropolitan cities
were using the drug casually, however, it has now become widespread across all
sections of society. Not only have inhalation practices given way to intravenous
drug use, but heroin is also being taken in combination with other sedatives and
The increased intensity of the effects of drug abuse, the rapid process of
addiction, and the difficulty of the recovery process have become a major
concern in India. Cannabis, heroin, and Indian-produced pharmaceutical drugs
have become the most commonly abused drugs in the country. Cannabis-based
products, such as charas, bhang, and ganja, are widely consumed across India, as
they have been associated with certain Hindu deities and have thus acquired a
certain amount of religious sanctity.
Drug Addiction And Crime
Drug addiction has caused immense human suffering, and its illegal production
and distribution have led to an upsurge in crime and violence across the globe.
Drug abuse is a multifaceted phenomenon with many different social, cultural,
biological, geographical, historical and economic elements. In order to
effectively address the issue, it is important to consider each of these factors
when designing interventions and policies.
The impact of drug abuse on society is far-reaching and deeply concerning.
Increased rates of crime are often linked to addiction, as addicts often resort
to crime to pay for their drugs. Moreover, drug abuse can impair an individual's
judgment and remove inhibitions, potentially leading to offenses such as
teasing, group clashes, and assault.
In addition, drug abuse can have a significant influence on a family, including
increasing conflicts and causing emotional distress. Moreover, addiction can
have a serious financial cost, as well as reducing individuals' ability to
maintain a stable lifestyle. All of these factors combined demonstrate the
immense impact of drug abuse on society.
The issue of narcotic addiction and its relation to criminality has become a
major source of concern in many societies in recent years. Several studies have
reported that narcotic addicts are often involved in criminal activity on a
daily basis, leading to the accumulation of multiple offenses per person over
the course of their addiction careers. This has further exacerbated the problems
associated with drug addiction, leading to an increase in drug-related crime and
other associated social issues.
Additionally, it has become increasingly evident that the severity of the
criminal activity associated with narcotic addiction is not only attributable to
the higher prevalence of 'victimless' crimes and minor offenses that addicts
commit, but also to the fact that many of their criminal activities are more
serious and destructive in nature. As the culture of addiction continues to
become more deeply entrenched in society, this problem appears to be
increasingly difficult to solve.
Narcotic addicts have experienced a shift in their behaviour over time.
Historically, addicts during the 1950s commonly resorted to committing
non-violent, petty crimes in order to finance their need for heroin. These
crimes typically revolved around the theft of property, such as shoplifting,
burglary, stealing from cars, and other forms of 'con-games'. Unfortunately,
this pattern of criminality has been observed in many other time periods, with
the addict's actions representing a desperate attempt to deal with their
In the 1960s, a new type of criminal activity began to emerge, one involving
violence such as armed robbery, car theft, mugging, purse-snatching, and
bank-robbery. Younger, less experienced criminals often learned these activities
from older, more experienced criminals and each specialization became a unique
skill set. As these specialized types of criminal activity became more common,
criminal organizations began to form and grow.
The 1970s saw a significant shift in the prevalence of prostitution,
particularly amongst female addicts, with the practice becoming more openly
accepted, cheaper, and less discriminatory. This period also marked an increase
in violent criminal activity, with the perpetrators usually being linked to drug
Observations suggest that the spike in violent behavior stemmed from the rise in
drug prices, as well as their deteriorating quality. Recent studies have shown
that narcotic drug users are just as likely, if not more so, to be arrested for
violent crimes, compared to those arrested for other offenses. What's more, the
majority of the most violent offenders have proven to be heroin users with
expensive heroin habits.
It is clear that narcotic addicts as a whole commit a large volume of crime by
any measure. Furthermore, it has been observed that the amount of crime
committed during periods of non-addiction is considerably lower than the amount
of crime committed during periods of active addiction. To add to this, there is
a large disparity in the amounts and types of crime committed by different
subgroups of the addict population.
The link between drugs and criminal activity is complex. Most obviously, it is a
criminal offense to purchase, utilize, possess, manufacture, or distribute
illegal drugs (such as cocaine, heroin, and marijuana). The misuse of legal
substances can also be related to crime.
prescription drug abuse may be connected to various crimes
such as forgery of prescriptions, illicit online pharmacies, and stealing of
drugs. Additionally, drugs may influence crime indirectly through their effects
on users' behavior and their association with violence and other illegal
activities linked to their creation, distribution, acquisition, or consumption.
Case: Chandru @ Chandrasekaran vs. The State (2010)
In this case, both the accused and the victim were drug addicts. The accused had
administered illicit drugs to the victim, which ultimately led to their death.
After considering the facts and circumstances of the case, the court concluded
that the two accused had unlawfully and intentionally conspired to cause the
victim's death, and thus upheld the verdict of the trial court convicting them
under Sections 302 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code.
Drug dependency and crime have long been seen as intrinsically linked. Drug
abusers are more likely to be involved in criminal behavior either to fund their
addiction, or because of altered judgment due to drug use. A promising approach
to address this issue is to explore the use of a combination of methods for the
treatment of addiction.
The simplest of these methods is court-directed treatment, in which the court
mandates an individual to enter a drug rehabilitation program in exchange for
avoiding or reducing their sentence or avoid prison entirely. This approach has
been proven effective, particularly when close monitoring or surveillance is
employed in a clinical setting.
This can be invaluable in identifying potential relapse earlier and providing
support and guidance to counter it. More elaborate methods do exist, such as
contingency management and motivational interviewing. Contingency management
centers around rewards and sanctions for positive or negative behavior in order
to encourage positive and discourage negative behavior.
Motivational Interviewing is a therapeutic approach used to open up individuals
to discuss the issue and develop a meaningful approach to managing their drug
use. Balancing the use of these treatments can lead to the most successful
outcomes, reducing both drug dependency and the likelihood of criminal behavior.
By providing effective approaches to the treatment of addiction.
From the standpoint of the welfare of society, the most pressing objective might
be the selective control over the aberrant behavior of those people who are
prone to the most severe and intensely criminal acts. Unfortunately, these
individuals are often especially adept at avoiding detection. This can be a huge
challenge for the justice system, law enforcement, and social workers, who have
a duty to protect the most vulnerable members of society.
To control these individuals and their sometimes hapless victims, it is
necessary to formulate an effective strategy for discouraging the behavior and
for apprehending those who pose a potential threat. A well-thought-out,
comprehensive approach to the problem would involve a combination of both
elaborated and simple methods.
For example, an elaborate plan might encompass a network of specialized teams
and resources that investigate known trouble spots, identify gangs and
individual actors, and then lock them down with targeted surveillance operations
that make it much more difficult for them to slide through the cracks.
Simultaneously, simple measures could involve regulating access to areas known
for violence or crime, thereby limiting the opportunities for potentially
dangerous individuals to slip away. Ultimately, it is paramount that the justice
system step up and take responsibility for the safety of society.
When members of either of these subgroups are identified, legal authorities need
to take a close look at their disposition and follow-up. While they are under
treatment, legal pressure should be continued and their drug-taking and patterns
of antisocial behaviour closely monitored and contained, when necessary.
Clearly, there are different types of addicts and different pathways to
addiction and crime. This diversity must be recognized in order to effectively
address the problem of drugs and crime. Tailoring countermeasures, both judicial
and therapeutic, to individual requirements is essential.
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