Narcos or narcotics are basically addictive drugs that reduce the user’s perception of pain and induce euphoria (a feeling of exaggerated and unrealistic well-being). The English word narcotic is derived from the Greek narkotikos , which means “numbing” or “deadening.”
India’s long found battle with the issue of illegal drug trafficking as well as illegal drug trade has not been able to pull up as much concern as the other insignificant issues have managed to, bothersome as it might be, the choices out are slender. However a lot is written about, spoken and debated on how the northern States of India including the Punjab and Haryana have been incandescent in cases involving illegal drugs and narcotic substances trafficking. What however has been ignored is the fact that each day tons of drug cartels are brought into the lesser known north-eastern States of India. These States mainly include Meghalaya, Assam, Manipur, given the drugs scenario. It undoubtedly has been a huge concern for the country to stop the import and manufacture of Opium in the country. The reasons for the same are mainly two. Firstly the region of north-eastern India witnesses a higher youth ratio than most parts of India and secondly and more importantly the “Golden Triangle”, which in this particular context refers to the border regions between Thailand, Burma and Laos and when gold was used by Chinese traders to pay for opium grown there.In Southeast Asia the term is synonymous with the opium and heroin trade.
Now what is known most definitely is the fact that the state of Punjab which is usually dubbed as India’s granary mostly because of the agricultural prowess and the quality of its food products, the state of Punjab is now seen as a haven for drug traffickers because of its geographical proximity to the states of the ‘Golden Crescent’ (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran). Their illegal opium production has made India, and specifically the state of Punjab, extremely vulnerable to the most voluminous trafficking of heroin throughout the country. This has been steadily increasing since the 1980’s, when the drugs began to be redirected through India since the traditional Balkan route had to be shut because of Iran-Iraq war.
Punjab accounts for half the cases which are registered in India under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, and for one-fifth of the heroin seizures in India. As of September 2014 , the Punjab police had already seized around 450 kilos of heroin, and 13,000 people have been arrested in trafficking and selling the drug. According to some independent studies, it was found that approximately 70% of the youth in Punjab between 16-35 years of age seems to be gripped by the devastating drug addiction, a direct cause of the ever proliferating drug trade and trafficking across the Indo-Pak border.
Drugs are packed and sealed before crossing the border from Pakistan to India by throwing them across the fence on predetermined and decided spots for pickups. Sometimes, the drugs are bundled separately and the bundles are tied together and are inserted through the fence or even through an underground tunnel within rubber tubes, with a thread dangling on the other side to pull the drugs out.
These appalling statistics come as no surprise when the investigations uncover and bring to the surface the links between drug traffickers and politicians in the drug racket. This has aided in crippling the generation of addicts not only in Punjab, but in India as well. Addicts and former police personnel who were involved in the illicit drug trade have confirmed the involvement and linkage of political activists and drug peddlers in the state. In previous years, the Golden Triangle region had witnessed almost exclusive production of opium, from which heroin was manufactured and trafficked to various parts of the world. In recent times, the Myanmar part of this region has been dominated by manufacture of drugs such as amphetamines and methamphetamines, which can be produced cheaply in small, hidden laboratories, without the need for acres of exposed land.
In conclusion, although India has made attempts to control this problem by adopting strategies of reduction of drug supply and demand, it needs to act on a much higher scale involving a 3 tier approach: firstly, strengthening of existing laws and possibly creation of new ones, secondly increasing security at the borders; and lastly actively co-operating with neighbouring countries and other members of the international community. At the grassroots level it is of significant importance to address the social impact of drug addiction in an efficient manner, through ensuring that schools/college students are aware of the health and legal consequences, establishing proper rehabilitation centres in places that may lack them, such as certain regions in the North East which are affected directly but aren’t properly equipped with treatment options.
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