TODAY -

Manipur State Drug Policy - Points for Consideration
- Part 2 -

Dr. Khomdon Lisam *



Points for Consideration

There are crucial questions for which many countries are finding it difficult to answer, The Drafting Committee may like to discuss the following questions :

(1) Why do we want to have a Drug Policy
(2) Why do the trend of Drug Trafficking and Drug Use among the youths of Manipur is increasing day by day.
(3) What are success stories and failure of Supply reduction, Demand Reduction and Harm Reduction in Manipur
(4) Shall the State adopt the “War on Drugs” strategy or not based on the international experiences
(5). Shall the State adopt the cultivation, production and selling of Cannabis Sativa/ Marijuana ( Ganja) under permission from Government of India.
(6). If poppy plants are to be destroyed, the land owner may be supported with plantation of alternative crops at free of costs beforehand..
(7) Shall the State adopt the cultivation, production and selling of Opium ( Papaver Somniferum ) under licence from the Government of India.
(8) Which drugs are to be banned in addition to those mentioned in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act-1985
(9) Which drugs are to be sold over the counter
(10) Which drugs are to be sold under the treating doctor’s prescription
(11) Shall the State exclude the Emergency Drugs
(12) Shall the State exclude the Life Saving Drugs ?
(13) Shall the State exclude the drugs used in substitution Therapy ?
(14) Shall we exclude the antidote to Heroin or Opium overdose?
(15) Shall the Manipur Government allow sale of Beers in Hotels and Restaurants or individuals above 18 years ?
(16) Shall the Manipur Government permit manufacture local brand of alcohol for local consumption and export .
(17) Shall the Manipur Government permit opening of “Opium Den” and “Ganja Den” in hotels of 3 Stars and above ?
(18) Shall the Manipur Government permit opening of “ Shooting Galleries” so that the drug users do not inject drugs in public etc. etc.

The Drafting Committee may find out many other questions and try to find feasible, practicable answers to be incorporated in the final draft..

War on Drugs

I am referring here the experiences of three countries - USA, Philippines and Thailand

1. On 17 July 1971, U.S President Richard Nixon declared the "war on drugs" " identifying drug abuse as "public enemy No. 1." Nixon told Congress that drug addiction had "assumed the dimensions of a national emergency", and asked Capitol Hill for an initial $ 84 million for "emergency measures". Nixon signed his war on drugs into law on 28 January 1972. The word “WAR” is very impressive but it was proved to be a big failure. More than $1 trillion has been spent since then till December, 2012 and hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost.

2. Rodrigo Duterte assumed office of the President of Philippines on 30 June, 2016. The War on Drugs introduced by Rodrigo Duterte, has killed 3,967 "drug personalities" between July 1, 2016 and November 27, 2017. Antonio Trillanes, Senate of Philippine said the death toll in the government's “war on drugs” has surpassed 20,000 since President Rodrigo Duterte came to office in 2016. Another 16,355 homicide cases - from July 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017 - have been classified as "under investigation". Duterte reportedly said “ Drug trafficking and drug use is our priority no,-1. "I don't care about human rights, believe me."

3. On 14 January 2003, Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand (In office 9 February 2001 – 19 September 2006 ) launched a campaign to rid "every square inch of the country" of drugs in three months. Order no. 29/B.E. 2546 (2003), signed on 28 January , 2003, called for the absolute suppression of drug trafficking by means absolute police and army action.

He said we do not require Drug Traffickers in Thailand. It consisted of changing the punishment policy for drug addicts, setting provincial arrest and seizure targets including "blacklists", awarding government officials for achieving targets and threatening punishment for those who failed to make the quota, targeting dealers, and "ruthless" implementation.

Thailand officially agreed that 2,819 people were killed between February and April 2003 in the War on Drugs. Police were conducting early morning raids and touched the lives of around 40,000 Thais. The government is forcing people, without trial, into what it calls "detoxification and rehabilitation". Drug Users were kept chained by their hands and feet 24 hours a day, for a month. During this period in 2003, I was in Chengmai (Thailand) . I was surprised that there was no protest of any kind by the people of Thailand against the War on Drugs.

Experiences of UN and other Countries

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports that Sweden has one of the lowest drug usage rates in the Western world, and attributes this to a drug policy that invests heavily in prevention and treatment as well as strict law.

Netherlands is based on two principles: that drug use is a health issue, not a criminal issue, and that there is a distinction between hard and soft drugs. Netherlands refuses to criminalize Marijuana (cannabis Sativa) users, while Portugal became the first European country, in 2001, to abolish criminal penalties for personal possession of all drugs, sending addicts for counselling instead. Italy has decriminalised possession of less than half a gram of most illegal substances.

The national drug policy of Switzerland was developed in the early 1990s and comprises the four elements of prevention, therapy, harm reduction and prohibition. In 1994 Switzerland was one of the first countries to try heroin-assisted treatment and other harm reduction measures like supervised injection rooms.

The U.S Government see the policy as a “third way” approach to drug control one that is based on the results of a huge investment in research from some of the world’s preeminent scholars on disease of substance abuse. The policy does not see drug legalization as the “silver bullet” solution to drug control. It is not a policy where success is measured by the number of arrests made or prisons built.

Canada just became the second and largest country in the world to legalize Marijuana (weed) nationwide. (Uruguay was the first.) Medical marijuana has been lawful in Canada since 2001, but prime minister Justin Trudeau’s successful campaign to open up recreational use is a landmark moment in the legalization movement.

Alcohol Prohibition

On 17 January 1920 USA went dry by prohibition of alcohol through ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment of the Federal Constitution. Prohibition ended with the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment on 5 December , 1933.

The English introduced quality controls on all forms of liquor, opening hours of pubs, and the regulation of distribution outlets. Maybe more important, they created shorter working days, better housing and education

The topic is a very vast subject. The people responsible and the members of the various committees may like to study further for formulation of the Manipur State Drug Policy.

Concluded...


* Dr. Khomdon Lisam wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer may be reached at Khomdon(DOT)lisam(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on July 31, 2019.



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