News18 (India) September 25, 2019 08:02:18With more than 5.3 million people dying every year from drug overdoses, the government has decided to set aside a Rs 50 crore fund for tackling the menace.
The fund will be used to create awareness programmes and train drug addicts to reduce the use of illicit drugs.
Drug experts said the initiative is a good way to counter the rising number of drug deaths.
“We have seen a big rise in drug deaths in the country.
In India, drug use is increasing by about 40 per cent annually.
The situation is deteriorating, so we have to take action,” Dr Suman Saha, an expert in drug control, said.
The plan was also welcomed by drug and alcohol experts.
“This is an extremely timely and good idea,” said Dr K.S. Srivastava, president of the All India Drug Policy Forum.
The Rs 50-crore fund is to be administered by the Centre for Drugs and Alcohol Research and Prevention (CDAP), a research institute.
It will also be managed by the state governments, which have to ensure that the funds are spent wisely.
“This is a big step forward,” said Suresh Kher, senior researcher at the Institute of Medical Sciences, Bengaluru.
“Drug addiction has become a huge problem.
The government has to look at ways to address it.
It is not enough to say we will create awareness.
We have to get people to think about how to get drugs off their hands,” he added.
The move is likely to increase the pressure on the Centre to take bolder action against drug abuse.
Drugs minister Satyendra Jain had said earlier this year that drug abuse was the biggest threat to the country’s public health.