Narcotics 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.

RalDer-X: New Explosive Detection Device developed by DRDO and IISc Bangalore

On March 1, 2020, at the National Workshop on Explosive Detection, a new Explosive Detection device called RalDer-X was launched.

Highlights

RalDer-X has the capacity to detect explosives that are in the pure form and also those that are added with contaminants. It is also capable of detecting explosives at a distance. The device is capable of detecting various applications such as narcotics and also other elements that are non-explosive in nature.

Significance

Explosive Detection is highly important to inspect whether a container contains explosives especially at ports, airports and at borders.

There are two main categories of Explosive detection namely Bulk Detection and Trace Detection. Colorimetrics is the popular principle used in detecting both types of explosives

Colorimetrics

The test is based on detecting the nitrogen compound in the explosive with its color reations. This is because, almost all explosives are made of nitroaromatic, nitramine or nitrate based compounds. However, it requires physical handling of explosive. Also, it cannot be detected in a sealed container. These disadvantages are over come by the new explosive device RalDer-X.