Drugs Current Affairs - 2020

SC on anti-narcotics law: Quantity will determine punishment not Purity

On April 23, 2020, the Supreme Court of India pronounced that it is the quantity of the banned drug mixture that will decide the punishment of the offender and not the purity. The clarification was given by the apex court under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

Highlights

In order to determine whether the drugs are in “small or commercial quantity”, the neutral substance in the mixture is to be included along with actual weight. This is being clarified by the court as according to the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances act, the punishment for possessing commercial quantity of drugs is more than that of smaller quantity.

What is the issue?

In illegal drug markets, the drugs are adulterated or mixed with other substances. This is done to reduce the vaporizing rates of heroin. They add chalk powder, zinc oxides and other cheaper but more dangerous impurities.

Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Act, 1985

The act prohibits a person to manufacture, produce, cultivate, possess, purchase, store, transport or consume narcotic drugs. Under the act, the GoI can constitute Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Consultative Committee to provide advise on matters relating to administration of the act. The committee shall consist of maximum of 20 members.

Under the act, the GoI shall constitute National Fund to control drug abuse.

Rs 15,000 crores approved by Union Cabinet for COVID-19

On April 22, 2020, the Union Cabinet approved Rs 15,000 crores towards “India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Challenge”. The funds are to be utilised in 3 phases.

Highlights

For an immediate response Rs 7,774 crore has been sanctioned. The rest of the funds are to be utilised as medium-term support in 1 to 4 years. The main aim of the funds is to slow down the spread of COVID-19 in India.

Objectives of the fund

The main objectives of the fund are as follows

  • To develop COVID-19 dedicated treatment facilities
  • To develop COVID-19 dedicated Diagnostics
  • To procure essential medical equipment to treat COVID-19 patients
  • To procure drugs to treat the disease
  • To prepare for future disease outbreaks
  • To set up laboratories
  • To improve surveillance activities
  • To increase bio-security preparedness
  • To encourage more COVID-19 research

All the above initiatives are to be implemented under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.