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Substance Abuse and Crimes: Affecting the Youth of the Country

In our country, the use of illegal drugs among youths is on the rise. Our country's condition regarding the use of drugs and other psychotropic substances is critical, as over 90% of consumption is from young, i.e., those aged 11 and up. Adolescents who are addicted to tobacco, drugs, or alcohol are more prone to conduct violent crimes. These intoxicants often raise a person's wrath, which may lead to the commission of violent acts such as rapes, murders and other heinous offences.

According to the report provided to the ministries of health and social justice, the more the participation of intoxicants, the more serious the crimes committed by a person. Doctors have noticed an increase in the number of children committing violent crimes like rape, murder, attempted murder, and burglary.

There are numerous reasons why a person may become involved with intoxicants, including family, peer pressure, and many others, but peer groups are the major and most important. Consumption of intoxicants is also costly because these substances are extremely expensive, both in terms of their usage and the subsequent treatment to get out of that state. When it comes to the aftermath of using these intoxicants, a person is not himself, and much worse is committing crimes, which may lead to a never-ending battle.

In India, we have an addiction problem. In Punjab, the figures are staggering: approximately 75% of its kids, or 3 out of every 4 children, are badly addicted to drugs. Mumbai, Hyderabad, and other cities around the country are swiftly establishing a reputation for drug use, and their populations continue to expand. The threat of drugs and alcohol has been ingrained in the structures of society.

As its impacts spread to our youth, India's future generation will be forced to compete with substances such as cannabis, alcohol, and cigarettes. There was no room for discussion about rehabilitation centers at least two decades ago, but it is now the need of the hour as the number of drug users increases day by day, and so does the demand for rehabs. Delhi is teeming with rehab facilities attempting to keep up with the influx of addicts. Over 500 centres across our country collaborate to rehabilitate addicts and reintegrate them into healthy productive lifestyles�but addiction is becoming too much for India.

Meaning of Substance Abuse

Substance abuse refers to excessive use of a drug in a way that is detrimental to self, society, or both. This definition includes both physical dependence and psychologic dependence. Physical dependence caused by prolonged use of a drug refers to an altered physiologic state in which withdrawal symptoms develop when the drug is discontinued. Psychologic dependence refers to a state of intense need to continue taking a drug in the absence of physical dependence.

By these definitions, alcohol is a drug that can cause both physical and psychologic dependence. In this chapter, alcohol is considered to be one of several drugs of abuse. It should be remembered, however, that the extent of alcohol-related problems in the United States is so great that alcohol is often considered in a separate category from other drugs of abuse.[1]

When people talk about substance abuse, they almost always presume they're talking about illegal narcotics. These medicines became prohibited in the first place because they are potentially addictive or have serious negative health consequences. Some people believe that using illegal drugs is risky and, as a result, abusive.[2]

Many patients who take these substances on a regular basis will try to persuade others that they are not having any problems because they are unaware that they are addicted. The aftermath of drugs causes enormous human anguish, and the illicit production and distribution of narcotics has produced crime and bloodshed all across the world. Every year on June 26th, the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is observed.

Causes of Substance Abuse

The reasons for getting involved in taking these intoxicants are still unknown, but there are generally students who are dissatisfied with their parents, peer pressure, wanting to look cool in front of their friends and cousins, being abused, and many other reasons for getting involved in this world. Most of the time, when a person enters this realm, they believe they may leave whenever they want, but they are clueless that the drugs are now controlling their body and mind, and leaving is extremely tough. 40% to 60% of drug intakes are related to a person's risk being passed down through generations.

In general, substance use begins as a way to feel good and sometimes out of curiosity in both adults and childhood. Continuous use of these substances results in addiction and an irrepressible need to use them more and more. Adults suffering from mental illness, anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder may turn to drugs to help them cope.

Some of the factors that contribute to substance abuse are as follows:

  • Addiction in the family
  • Sleep issues
  • Persistent discomfort
  • Financial problems
  • Divorce or death of a loved one
  • Tobacco uses over a long time
  • In childhood, there was a lack of parental bonding due to a tense home situation.
  • Relationship problems
Although these are not the sole reasons for substance addiction, some people may be experiencing the same issues but will not engage in these activities, whereas others may choose to take a shortcut such as substance misuse.

Crimes and Penalties under the Influence of Substance Abuse
The crime rate while under the influence of drugs and other intoxicants has risen throughout the years. The fines and acts have been enacted numerous times. Several laws have been enacted throughout the years to combat drug abuse, but it is still not under control.

India is party to the three United Nations drug conventions:

the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs (1961 Convention), the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971 Convention) and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988 Convention).

The Dangerous Act was passed in 1930 to control drug use in the country, including coca and cannabis and its production, possession, manufacture, and sale. Following that, in 1940, the Drugs and Cosmetics Act was enacted to regulate the manufacture and sale of medicines such as cannabis and opium. The formation of the Indian Constitution in 1950 provided a fresh perspective by virtue of Article 47, which clearly states that the state should prohibit the usage of medicines unless they are used for therapeutic purposes.

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, (NDPS, Act) was approved by the Indian Parliament in 1985, replacing the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. The NDPS Act got amended consequently in 1989, 2001 and in 2014.

NDPS Amendment 2014

The NDPS Act was amended for the third time in early 2014, with some new clauses that went into effect on May 1st, 2014.

Some of the amendments' observations include:

  • A new category was established for essential narcotic medications, which can be regulated and specified uniformly throughout the country by the central government.
  • Expanding the law's goal from containing illicit use to also promoting the medicinal and scientific use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances in accordance with the international drug control treaties' notion of "balance" between control and availability of narcotic drugs.
  • Counting expressions such as drug addiction management and treatment center approval as a result of permitting the formation of legally mandated treatment standards and following evidence-based medical intervention.
  • Making the death penalty discretionary for a subsequent drug-related offence involving a particular number of narcotics under Section 31A. Section 31 provides the court with the option of imposing a 30-year prison sentence.
  • The penalty for low-volume offences was increased from a minimum of six months to one year in prison.
  • Allowing the commercial sector to participate in the processing of opium and concentrated poopy straw
  • More detailed provisions for forfeiture of property of people charged with drug trafficking.

Penalties for Offences

The penalties for offences are outlined in the NDPS Act of 1985, which has been amended several times throughout the years.

The following are some of the penalties:

Offences Penalty Sections Of The Act
Coca leaf, opium, and cannabis cultivation without a valid license. This offence is punishable by harsh imprisonment for up to ten years and a fine of up to one lakh rupees. Cultivation of opium is punishable under Section 18 (c) of the Act.
Manufacturing, purchase, etc. of cannabis is punishable under Section 20 of the Act.
Cultivation, possession etc. of the coca plant is punishable under Section 16 of the Act.
Embezzlement of opium by the cultivator. Offenses like this are punishable by imprisonment for 10 to 20 years and a fine of Rs. 1 to 2 lakhs, irrespective of the quantity. Punishable under Section 19 of the Act.
Manufacturing, production, sale, possession, transportation, buying, interstate import/export, or use of psychotropic substances and narcotic medicines.
The punishment for possession of a small amount of drugs is rigorous imprisonment for up to 6 months or a fine of   Rs.10,000, or both.
The punishment for violating the commercial quantity of medicines that is more than the lesser quantity is rigorous imprisonment up to 10 years or a fine of up to Rs. 1 lakh.
For the possession of a commercial quantity of drugs, the penalty is imprisonment for 10-20 years and a fine of Rs. 1-2 lakhs.
Contraventions involving produced medications and preparations are punishable under Section 21 of the Act.
Contraventions using psychotropic drugs are punishable under Section 22.
The import, export, or transshipment of narcotics and psychotropic substances. The same as before. Punishable under Section 23 of the Act.
External dealings in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances include managing, trading, and supplying drugs to individuals outside of India, as well as obtaining drugs from individuals outside of India. Offenses like this are punishable by imprisonment for 10 to 20 years and a fine of Rs. 1 to 2 lakhs, irrespective of the quantity. Punishable under Section 24 of the Act.
Allowing one's property to be used to commit an offence with knowledge Punishment for that offence is provided. Punishable under Section 25 of the Act.
Violating the control and regulation of controlled substances. The punishment for violation is rigorous imprisonment up to 10 years with fine of Rs. 1 Lakh which may extend to Rs. 2 Lakhs. Punishable under Section 25A of the Act.
For facilitating illegal trafficking and harbouring offenders. The punishment for violation is rigorous imprisonment up to 10 to 20 years with the fine of Rs. 1 to 2 Lakhs. Punishable under Section 27A if the Act.
Attempts, aid, and abetment, as well as criminal conspiracy Punishment for that offence is provided. Punishable under Section 28 for attempts, Section 29 for abetment and criminal conspiracy.
Penalties are increased for offences committed after a previous conviction. The penalty is one-and-a-half times the offense's penalty. Also, in some cases, the death penalty. Punishable under Section 31-31A for repeated offences.
Intaking of drugs Intaking of drugs like morphine, cocaine, heroin the punishment for using these drugs is rigorous imprisonment up to 1 year or fine of Rs. 20,000 or both.

Consumption of some other drugs, the punishment for this offence is imprisonment upto 6 months or fine of Rs. 10,000 or with both.
Punishable under Section 27 of the Act.
Punishment for an offence that carries no penalty. Imprisonment for up to six months or a fine, or both Punishable under Section 32 of the Act.

Death sentences given by Indian Judiciary in Narcotics Case

I In March 2004, Malik was sentenced to ten years in prison by a Gujarat court after a truck carrying 142 kg of hashish was seized, 55 kg of which was to be delivered to Malik in Mumbai. Malik was found guilty of storing hashish in his godown and attempting to smuggle it in December 2007 by the Mumbai NDPS court. In the event of a second conviction, the accused should be sentenced to death under Section 31A of the Act.[3]
  • Omkarnath Kak, who was found with 28 kg of charas in September 2003, was sentenced to death by an Ahmedabad sessions court. Kak was apprehended in 1988 for possessing 40kg of charas.[4]
  • In January 2012, a special Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) court sentenced an Amritsar resident to death for a subsequent offence of drug trafficking. After producing his previous case's conviction record, NCB invoked Section 31A of the NDPS Act, 1985 against Paramjeet Singh. In 2003, a Delhi court convicted Paramjeet of possessing 6.12 kg of heroin and sentenced him to 10 years in prison. In its decision to sentence Paramjeet to death, the NCB special court stated that the legislature has left no option for the court to award any sentence other than death for the subsequent conviction under the NDPS Act.[5]

Relationship between Substance Abuse and Crimes

Drug use and crime are inextricably linked. Drug addicts commit crimes to pay for their narcotics, which harms society. In addition, many offenders commit crimes while under the influence of drugs. Drug trafficking is another complication of drug addiction. People suffer greatly from drug addiction, and the illicit manufacture and sale of narcotics has resulted in crime and bloodshed all over the world. Drug addiction is a complex issue with social, cultural, biological, geographic, historical, and economic ramifications.

Addiction to drugs has had a negative impact on society. It has led to an increase in crime rates. Addicts turn to criminality to pay for their narcotics. Drugs lower inhibition and impair judgement, encouraging criminal behaviour. As a result of drug use, teasing, group fights, assaults, and impulsive killings are all on the rise. Addiction causes conflict and enormous emotional suffering for every family member, as well as jeopardizing financial stability.

Drug addicts, by any objective measure, commit a significant amount of crime, as has been demonstrated over time. Furthermore, the amount of crime committed during non-addiction periods is significantly lower than that committed during active addiction periods. Furthermore, the amount and type of crime committed by different segments of the addict community varies greatly.

The relationship between drugs and crime is complicated. It is a crime to purchase, use, possess, manufacture, or distribute illegal substances (such as cocaine, heroin, and marijuana). Legal drug abuse has been linked to criminal activity. Prescription medication abuse, for example, has been linked to a variety of crimes such as prescription forgery, illegal online pharmacies, and drug theft. Drugs have an indirect impact on crime because of their effects on user behaviour and their association with violence and other illegal activities in drug manufacturing, distribution, purchase, and consumption.

In the case of Chandrasekaran vs. The State (2010)[6] Both the perpetrator and the victim in this case were drug users. The accused injected the victim with illegal substances, and the victim died as a result. Based on the facts and circumstances of the case, the court concluded that the two defendants had criminally plotted to kill the victim and upheld the trial court's decision convicting them under sections 302 and 120B of the IPC.

A focus on the use of a variety of approaches to treating addiction would be a viable solution to the problem of drug addiction and criminality. Court-ordered therapy has been shown to be effective, particularly when combined with drug monitoring and close clinical supervision. Priority management of the most violent and deeply involved, criminally active drug abusers�unfortunately, the tatter are frequently very adept at evading detection�might be the most pressing goal from the standpoint of societal welfare.

When members of either of these categories are discovered, legal authorities must pay close attention to their disposition and follow-up. Legal pressure should be maintained while they are in treatment, and their drug use and antisocial behaviour patterns should be constantly monitored and restricted as needed. Clearly, there are different types of addicts, as well as different paths to addiction and criminality. Recognizing this variability and tailoring judicial and therapeutic responses to individual needs may be necessary for effective solutions to the drug and crime problem.

Importance of Treating Substance Abuse in order to control Crimes
Almost 75% of Indian households have at least one drug user, who is usually a parent, and frequently the father. Experts say that children as young as 13 and 14 experiment with intoxicants on a regular basis.

Rather than wondering why our youth are becoming addicts, we should begin asking better questions. What are we going to do to put a stop to them? How do we keep the stuff out of their hands and out of their minds?

These questions have a two-part answer:
  • Efforts should be made to prevent drug and alcohol abuse. It can be done by talking to the adults who have never abused drugs and might be on the path of doing it. These adults can be stopped by spreading more awareness about it. Some prevention techniques that can be used:
    • Promoting about the health.
    • People-centeredness and the promotion of social interaction.
    • Participation of young people on a local level and adherence to cultural values.
    • Positive alternatives should be encouraged.
  • De-Addiction Treatment Centers in India must concentrate on the youth. The centers which is also known as rehabilitation centers runs therapies and treatments to help a person cope with addiction. There are several therapies available to treat substance use disorder. Even in the case of a severe disorder, treatment can be beneficial. Typically, you will receive a combination of the following therapies:
    • Detoxification:
      is the process by which you stop using drugs and allow them to leave your body. Safe detoxification may necessitate medical supervision
    • Medication-assisted therapies:
      During detox, medicine can help reduce cravings and alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
    • Behavioral therapies:
      Cognitive behavioural therapy or other forms of psychotherapy can address the underlying causes of addiction (talk therapy). Therapy also helps with self-esteem development and the teaching of appropriate coping skills.

Addiction therapy aims to help addicts overcome their compulsive substance seeking and use. Treatment can take place in a variety of settings, take various forms, and last for varying lengths of time. Because drug addiction is often a chronic condition characterised by relapses, a one-time, short-term therapy is rarely sufficient. For many people, treatment is a long-term process involving multiple therapies and ongoing monitoring.

Treatment medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone (including a novel long-acting version) are available for those addicted to opioids, as are nicotine preparations (patches, gum, lozenges, and nasal spray) Tobacco addicts can use the medications varenicline and bupropion. Disulfiram, acamprosate, and naltrexone are medications used to treat alcoholism, which often co-occurs with other drug addictions, such as prescription drug addiction.

Finally, drug addicts frequently have other health (e.g., depression, HIV), vocational, legal, familial, and social issues that must be addressed at the same time. The best programmes combine treatments and other services to meet each patient's individual needs. Psychoactive pharmaceuticals include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, and mood stabilisers. When patients have co-occurring mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders (including post-traumatic stress disorder), bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, antipsychotics and antidepressants may be critical for treatment effectiveness.

Drug abuse is a complex issue that has a far-reaching impact on the lives of those who use it. Overcoming addiction necessitates significant changes in all aspects of a victim's life. Given the current state of Indian affairs, harm reduction principles applied to drug policy are the only way to eliminate Substance Abuse from our society. There is indeed a clear link between drug abuse, the type of substance used, and the crimes committed.

As the prevalence and severity of delinquency increased, so did the severity of delinquency. Addicts are compelled to commit crimes in order to obtain narcotics. Addicts are not hired. As a result, they are unable to meet their basic needs due to a lack of funds. Smuggling, drug dealing, theft, and prostitution are just a few of the illegal activities they engage in. As a result, the cycle of poverty, addiction, and criminality continues. The importance of employing preventative measures is becoming more apparent than ever before.

  1. John B. Griffin JR. Clinical Methods: The History, Physical and Laboratory Examinations, 3rd Edition, Chapter 206 Substance abuse, 1990.
  2. Csete J, Kamarulzaman A, Kazatchkine M, et al. public health and international drug policy. Lancet. 2016;387(10026):1427�1480. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)00619-X.
  6. Chandrasekaran vs. The State, CRL.A.Nos.592 and 636 of 2010.
  1. John B. Griffin JR. Clinical Methods: The History, Physical and Laboratory Examinations, 3rd Edition, Chapter 206 Substance abuse, 1990.
  2. Csete J, Kamarulzaman A, Kazatchkine M, et al. public health and international drug policy. Lancet. 2016;387(10026):1427�1480. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)00619-X.
  6. Chandrasekaran vs. The State, CRL.A.Nos.592 and 636 of 2010.

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