TODAY -

Changing face of drug menace
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: May 25, 2024 -



THE revelation made by Manipur Chemists and Druggists' Association (MCDA) that wholesalers and retailers of pharmaceutical drugs in Manipur have been unable to stock and supply 'life saving drugs' including the ones classified under Schedule X and Schedule H1 of 'The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940' due to illegal trading of the same by drug cartel in the form of intoxicants is a serious issue that need to be dealt with firmly at once.

As Thokchom Dijamani, who is the general secretary of MCDA, had pointed out during a press conference on Thursday, drugs classified under Schedule X and Schedule H1 of 'The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940' are all lifesaving drugs allowed to be,sold only by licensed wholesalers and retailers as per the relevant law of the land.

However, these drugs which are essential for critically-ill patients are being traded by drug cartels as intoxicants.

As a result, honest wholesalers and retailers have not been able to stock or provide the medicines to the patients in need.

Dijamani had also revealed that as per the guidelines, retailers need to maintain a copy of the doctor's prescription while selling the Schedule X and Schedule Hi drugs.

Even if Dijamani had not given the total number of wholesalers and retailers in Manipur which have been given license to sell the Schedule X and Schedule H1 drugs that are known to have higher potential for abuse and addiction owing to their narcotic and psychotropic contents, the revelation that around 1-2 per cent of the licensees were found involved in the drug cartel itself should be a wakeup call for everyone to seriously ponder over the repercussions of such illegal trade practices in a state which is already grappling with the problem of drug menace that has come to pose threat not only to the survival of its young population but also to its territorial integrity.

Taking serious note of the matter, MCDA may have decided to launch a crackdown on wholesalers and retailers indulging in such illegal trade practices as it has besmeared the reputation of everyone working sincerely to ensure supply of life saving drugs to people.

But this is an issue that needs to be dealt with an iron hand, if we may be allowed to use the expression of an autocratic ruler.

We feel that mere cancellation of licenses of the defaulting wholesalers and retailers is a penalty too lenient for committing an offence that put the lives of not only critically ill patients at stake but is also directly responsible for perpetuating the problem»of drug abuse in Manipur.

It may need no reminder to anyone about the problem of illegal drug trade and drug abuse, which is also at the heart of the bloody conflict that has been going on for more than one year now between two ethnic communities living in this tiny northeastern Indian state.

The burden of illegal drug trade which Manipur used to bear on account of its proximity to civil war-torn Myanmar and the infamous 'Golden Triangle' may have been shifted to other neighbouring border states in the region since the bloody conflict broke out on May 3 last year, but it would a wishful thinking to expect the problem of drug abuse to go away automatically when "alternative drugs of abuse" in the form of pharmaceutical substances are available everywhere freely.

Even if the poppy cultivation in the hill districts of Manipur have come down today, ever increasing number of drug addicts, who are now as young as school going children, as well as rehabilitation centres across the tiny state is a clear indication of the changing face of drug menace that would need the concerted and renewed effort of everyone including the civil society organisations and government authorities to face it.



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