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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 24 April, 2023

  • 4 Min Read

Drug Trafficking

Drug Trafficking

  • Security and law enforcement organisations around the world, including in India, are on high alert due to the serious problem of the international drug trade.
  • The Death (Golden) Crescent and Death (Golden) Triangle have historically been viewed as sandwiching India, and drug lords who are indirectly assisted by intelligence setups are flooding India with drugs, mainly heroin and methamphetamine, from these two locations.

Drug issue

  • The Taliban's main source of income has been drug sales. As Afghanistan's economy crumbles, the Taliban will be largely dependent on narcotics revenue to keep their cadres under control.
  • The most recent World Drug Report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime states:
  • In comparison to 2019, Afghanistan recorded a 37% rise in the amount of land used for opium poppy cultivation in 2020.
  • Last year, 85% of the world's opium was produced in this nation.
  • Drug seizures and arrests had little effect on opium-poppy cultivation, despite the fact that Afghan specialised units' capabilities throughout the years improved.
  • Afghanistan is already emerging as a significant hub for methamphetamine production.

World Drug Report 2021

  • Globally, 275 million people used drugs in the previous year. There were almost 36 million persons who had drug use disorders.
  • Most nations have reported a rise in cannabis use during the pandemic.
  • During the same time period, there have also been reports of non-medical drug usage.
  • According to the most recent figures, 5.5% of people aged 15 to 64 had used drugs at least once in the previous year.
  • The number of persons who inject drugs is estimated to be over 11 million, and half of them have hepatitis C.
  • The majority of diseases associated with drug abuse are still caused by substance abuse.

What Makes Drug Trafficking Risky?

  • It is a social issue that affects children and families and generates income that is then used for disruptive activities that compromise national security.
  • Cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine are just a few of the drugs that are trafficked by criminal organisations.
  • Methamphetamine (meth) is an addictive drug which can cause considerable health adversities that can sometimes result in the death.
  • Recently, USA has witnessed a new zombie drug (fentanyl) gripping its population.
  • This drug can cause raw wounds on the user’s skin which can spread rapidly with repeated exposure.
  • It starts with ulcers, hardens to dead skin called eschar, and if left untreated can result in amputation.

How prevalent is drug addiction in India?

  • In partnership with AIIMS, New Delhi, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment carried out a "National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in India" in 2018.
  • India had the fourth-largest amount of opium confiscated in 2020, at 5.2 tonnes, and the third-largest amount of morphine, at 0.7 tonnes, according to the World Drug Report 2022.

Where are illegal drugs transported into India?

  • Death (Golden) Crescent Threats: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran.
  • Drug traffickers from Pakistan use certain regions of Pakistan that border Afghanistan to turn Afghan opium into heroin, which is subsequently shipped to India.
  • Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar make up the Death (Golden) Triangle, which poses threats.
  • Challenges also exist in Myanmar's Shan and Kachin provinces, which border China.
  • China Factor: These heroin and methamphetamine-producing regions have open borders and are supposedly run by rebel groups who get indirect Chinese help.
  • Here, illegal weapons are produced and supplied to parties operating undercover in India.
  • The latest yearly report from the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) estimates that over 70% of all illegal drugs transported into India enter the country via sea routes in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.

Challenges

  • Cryptocurrency transactions: The appeal of darknet transactions has been enhanced by the use of cryptocurrency payments and doorstep deliveries made possible by courier services.
  • Traffickers have evolved into innovative and tech-savvy individuals. In Punjab, for example, they now use drones to deliver drugs and weapons, creating new difficulties for the security services.
  • Using more secure and anonymous methods: As a result of the restrictions placed on air, sea, and vehicle travel during the COVID-19 epidemic, drug traffickers have begun to rely more heavily on courier, parcel, and post services.
  • Nexus between Drug Lords and NRIs: Recent investigations have shown that the drug cartels have ties to local drug lords and gangsters in India who have ties to Khalistani terrorists and the ISI in Pakistan, as well as NRIs based in Canada, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and several European nations.
Way forward
  • Through campaigns and NGOs, awareness must be raised among the populace to reduce drug addiction. It's important to lessen the stigma attached to drug use. The general public must comprehend that drug addicts are victims, not criminals.
  • There needs to be control over certain agricultural medications that contain more than 50% alcohol and narcotics. To stop the drug epidemic in the nation, strict action is needed from the police, excise, and narcotics departments.
  • Chapters on drug addiction, its effects, and de-addiction should be included in the curriculum. Another option is competent counselling.

Source: Indian Express


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