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Critical Analysis of Drug Problem in Punjab

Authored by Shweta Tated

Keywords: Drug Abuse, Narcotics, Trafficking, Punjab, Opium


Drug abuse is a global tragedy affecting almost every country in the world but in every region its characteristics differ. The vicious circle of drugs has also caught India and the drug users here are increasing day by day in large numbers. Drugs though banned in Punjab have captured the proportions of a disease which has rattled the entire society in the State. It has been seen that this drug abuse in Punjab is a raging epidemic especially among the youngsters.


Drug abuse is a method of the misuse of drugs through different ways; addicts are using the substance which is easily available like cough syrups, pain killer ointments, glue, colophony, paints, gasoline and cleaning fluids. Whitener, alcohol, tobacco, hard and soft drugs is often used by street and working children. Drug abuse is one of the major issues in our country, particularly within the states of Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Western Rajasthan. Punjab and Manipur exceed in this list. Punjab’s program to cut back drug menace amongst the youngsters is through the awareness initiative that is called as Buddy.[1]

Causes of Drug Abuse

There are various causes of drug abuse which might be divided as social, economic, and mental causes. They’re further explained as:

Social Causes: In today’s competitive world it’s tough for some individuals to grow. There’s constant peer pressure which is not at all visible. The fundamental cause of drug abuse is a poor relationship with parents where there is a huge lack of communication between the child and the parent. Sometimes due to a trend among friends the people who don’t tend to take drugs become habitual because it is easily available. Some drug users take upon drugs because of the surrounding atmosphere which is considered as normal. Some people are engaged in love affairs and loss of their loved one cause’s depression and therefore misuse of the substance.[2]Due to the current scenario there is an unusual lifestyle which is also responsible to some extent which is mainly found among the sex workers, transportation workers and street children also.

Economic Causes: Poverty is one of the major features of the rising users of drugs. Various complications such as financial worries and mental pressure lead to increasing amount of drug users.[3] People are producing narcotic drugs to increase income, so this production is responsible for its misuse.

Mental Causes: One on the fundamental reason for attempting use of drugs is mental health condition. People who are emotionally weaker tend to feel depressed about the facts of the world and atmosphere around them. The users sometimes misuse drugs because of low self-respect. Academic pressure is also creating stress because of which people tend to misuse drugs. Also, a history of psychological trauma appears to increase the risk of substance abuse. More than 75% of people who suffered from psychological trauma use drugs as a part of self-medicating strategy or provide an avenue towards self-destructive behaviors.[4]Also, women are more sensitive towards drugs than men, and hence need less exposure to similar effects.

Present scenario in Punjab

Punjab represents a sacred portion of the country. In Punjab, the use of drugs is not a new thing. People are into the use of opium from a long time in the past. The villagers were exhausted due to the whole day’s hard work in the farms and hence the use of opium was kind of refreshment for them. The youth of Punjab are already within the pool of drugs, alcohol and other harmful toxins. Over the most recent years, while the business and economy in the state continued sliding, the drug exchange thrived. With addicts turning vendors and some reports of political support to the drug exchange, chitta turned into a genuine business in Punjab. The matter of drug spreads from the poppy fields of Afghanistan to the homesteads of rustic Punjab and drawing rooms of Ludhiana and Chandigarh, including a huge assortment of entertainers, for instance, the jobless country youth, urban rich whelps, spoilt school young ladies.

Statutory Provision in India

India's approach towards Narcotic medication and psychoactive substances is consecrate in Article 47 of the Constitution of India that commands that the “State shall endeavor to bring prohibition of the consumption apart from health functions of intoxicating drinks and of medication that are injurious to health”.[5]Until 1985, the drug offenders in India were prosecuted under the provisions of the subsequent Central laws:

1. The Opium Act, 1857,

2. The Opium Act, 1878,

3. The Dangerous Drugs Act, 1930.

Besides these, some provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, The Medical and Toilet Preparation Act, 1953 and Customers Act, 1952 were also made use for the prevention and control of drug abuse in India. However, it was not possible to combat the growing, menace of drug abuse with these obsolete legislations. To replace the obsolete legislation, two new statutes relating to drug abuse have been enacted by the Central Government.

These are:

1. The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act, 1985,

2. The Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (PIT) Act, 1988.

3. Comprehensive action against drug abuse, August 2018

Since there was a massive issue of medication maltreatment from the previous not many years, the legislature of Punjab has gone to an approach to sanction this previously mentioned act through which the Government and the Police can handle this grave issue and force serious discipline on the charged additionally following and evacuate the entire chain of medications from the territory of Punjab.

The Drug Chains

Meandering rivers and streams along Indo-Pak border are popular routes for smugglers because they’re difficult to trace for Indian forces. Some use innovative ways like sliding in drugs in plastic pipes through the barbed wire at the international border. In step with the sources, the most efficient peddlers of drugs are drug addicts themselves. A drug addict is the last man in the distribution network who is the most motivated as he takes to market drugs to earn his own fix. According to police sources, chitta costs an exponent to make a panel, a 'culture commission', to look at songs that glorify drugs and violence not less than Rs 2,000 a day, making it a pricey habit. A well-oiled marketing machine works behind the drug exchange in the state. It’s the Punjabi music industry, these songs have glorified and glamourized drugs for years. The movie 'Udta Punjab' threw ample light on how Punjabi music is one vast advertisement for drugs.[6]The music industry has vitiated the popular culture &a few months ago the state government had to form a panel, a 'culture commission', to observe songs that glorify drugs and violence.

Case Laws

1. Sarbjit Singh vs State of Punjab[7]: On 25th July 2018 the solicitor 1 of 18 was found possessing 25 ampoules containing avil and 25 inebriating vials each containing 2ml of buprenorphine. Those were taken into ownership and fixed in a different package and sent to the concoction inspector who opined that salt buprenorphine hydrochloride, which is a psychotropic substance, was contained therein.

2. State of Punjab vs Baldev Singh[8]: The Supreme Court held that, drug abuse is a social malady. While drug addiction eats into the vitals of the society, drug trafficking not only eats into the vitals of the economy of the country, but illicit money generated by drug trafficking is commonly used for illicit activities including encouragement of terrorism.

Challenges faced

Due to the increase in amount of drug users there are many challenges that are faced in order to stop the users from use of drugs. The golden crescent that is Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran make it incredibly powerless as large amount of heroin is imported from there. It is shipped from Afghanistan with the help of neighbouring country like Pakistan on to the business sectors in locale. Due to this Punjab was once known as India’s “bread bushel” as it rose as last goal for various unlawful drugs.[9] The main reason that Punjab neglected the issue of drug abuse resulted in an increased number of users due to the security component.

There is no coordination among the police, the BSF and the state and local knowledge offices for checking the issue. The Punjab Police has restricted ability to research narco-fear, especially identified with current ingenious and logical devices to counter the issue. Examinations have not generally had early victories and have at times been portrayed by poor practices. Due to this there are low conviction rates and deferral discipline under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act has additionally ended up being issued.


Drug is a poison it provides short term enjoyment with long term pain. In India there are many health issues that include mental and physical issues because the youth today are wearing the blanket of drugs. The problem of drug abuse in the youth of Punjab is a matter of major concern as every third individual is hooked to drugs other than alcohol and tobacco.[10]The government need to perceive the gigantic test in weaning ceaselessly the youth from drugs. In this manner, formation of work openings, framework for recreational exercises and sports ought not to be disregarded. The evil of substance abuse not only creates shackles on the very idea of a far better life but it also acts as an impediment to the expansion of the country. The legal framework which is present to counter the abuse of drugs is based on a stable foundation. A lot more is often achieved by just efficiently implementing the prevailing laws and streamlining the procedure.

Foot notes: [1]NewIndianXpress. “Keeping Drug Abuse in Check: 'Buddy' Saving Youths Lives in Punjab.” The New Indian Express, The New Indian Express, 19 Apr. 2020 [2]Whitesell, Mackenzie, et al. “Familial, Social, and Individual Factors Contributing to Risk for Adolescent Substance Use.” Journal of Addiction, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2013

[3]Himanshu. “What Is the Real Problem in Punjab?” Mint, 14 June 2016, [4]“Punjab Drug Addiction: 16% Or–As Dy CM Says–0.06%?” IndiaSpend, 10 Aug. 2016, [5]GKToday. “Constitutional and Legal Provisions in India against Drug Addiction.” GKToday Constitutional and Legal Provisions in India against Drug Addiction Comments, GKToday, 22 Dec. 2014, [6]“The Chitta Economy: How the Business of Drugs Works in Punjab.” The Economic Times, [7] [8]“The State of Punjab Vs. Baldev Singh [1999] INSC 224 (21 July 1999).” Latest Laws, [9]R K ARORA and VINAY KAURA. “War on Drugs: Challenges for the Punjab Government.” ORF, 31 May 2017, [10]Sharma, Bhuwan, et al. “Drug Abuse: Uncovering the Burden in Rural Punjab.” Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd, 2017,