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State PCS

Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. The largest region of illicit opium cultivation in its neighborhood poses threat to India's youth. Discuss protective measures that are necessary to stop this drug menace? (250 words)

    10 Jan, 2023 GS Paper 2 Social Justice


    • Start your answer by briefly discussing the present state of drug menace in India.
    • Discuss the causes of drug menace in India and suggest some measures to tackle these issues.
    • Conclude accordingly.


    • The menace of drug addiction has spread fast among the youth of India as it is sandwiched between two largest Opium producing regions of the world that is the Golden triangle on one side and the Golden crescent on other.
      • The golden triangle area comprises Thailand, Myanmar and Laos.
      • The golden crescent area includes Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.
    • India is one of the world's single largest opiate markets in terms of users and would likely be vulnerable to increased supply.
    • According to World Drug Report 2022, India has the fourth largest quantity of opium seized in 2020 at 5.2 tons and the third-highest amount of morphine was also seized in the same year at 0.7 tons. Further, India is also linked to shipment of drugs sold on the 19 major darknet markets analyzed over 2011-2020.


    • The impact of the drug menace in India is significant, with negative consequences for the health and well-being of individuals, as well as social and economic impacts on families and communities.
    • Various causes related to illicit drug menace in India:
      • Peer Pressure: Peer pressure and curiosity as major reasons for drug abuse, especially among schoolchildren and young adults. Additionally, it is said that the presence and glorification of drugs in popular media such as television series can further encourage drug use.
      • Mental health issues: Substance abuse and mental health issues often go hand in hand. People who struggle with mental health problems may turn to drugs as a way to cope with their symptoms.
      • Lack of education and awareness: A lack of education and awareness about the risks and consequences of drug use can also contribute to the problem.
      • Poor socio-economic conditions: Poor socio-economic conditions, such as unemployment and a lack of access to education and healthcare, can create an environment that is conducive to drug abuse and addiction.
    • Measures needed to resolve drug menace:
      • There are several measures that can be taken to address the problem of illicit opium cultivation in India and protect the country's youth from the dangers of drug abuse like:
        • Reducing the stigma attached to drug problems: By being empathetic towards victims of drug addicts and treating them as individuals in need of support, rather than criminals, society can help to reduce the stigma surrounding drug abuse and encourage more people to seek help.
        • Increasing access to treatment and rehabilitation: Providing more resources and support for treatment and rehabilitation programs can help individuals overcome their addiction and rebuild their lives.
        • Increase law enforcement efforts: One of the most effective ways to reduce illicit drug cultivation and trafficking is to increase law enforcement efforts, including patrols, intelligence gathering, and interdiction. This can help disrupt the supply chain and make it more difficult for drug traffickers to operate.
        • Implement demand reduction programs: It is important to address the demand for drugs, as well as the supply. Implementing demand reduction programs, such as education and prevention campaigns, can help reduce the number of people using drugs and decrease the market for illicit drugs.
        • Promote alternative livelihoods: One way to reduce the appeal of opium cultivation is to provide farmers with alternative livelihoods that are more financially stable and sustainable. This can include training and support for transitioning to different crops, as well as access to credit and other resources.
        • Strengthen International cooperation: Illicit drug cultivation and trafficking often involve international networks and cross-border trade. Strengthening international cooperation and partnerships can help disrupt these networks and make it more difficult for traffickers to operate.
        • Provide treatment and support for drug users: It is important to provide support and treatment for those who are struggling with drug addiction. This can include access to rehabilitation and support services, as well as harm reduction measures, such as needle exchange programs.
        • Implementing alternative development programs: By providing economic and social support to farmers and communities in areas where opium is grown, the government can help to reduce the supply of illegal drugs and support sustainable development.
    • Related International and Indian Initiatives:
      • Indian:
        • Seizure Information Management System (SIMS): SIMS is a e-portal created by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) to create a complete online database of drug offences and offenders.
        • NDPS Act: It prohibits a person from producing, possessing, selling, purchasing, transporting, storing, and/or consuming any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.
        • Nasha Mukt Bharat: Government has also announced the launch of the ‘Nasha Mukt Bharat’, or Drug-Free India Campaign which focuses on community outreach programs.
      • International Treaties and Conventions to Combat Drug Menace:
        • India is signatory of the following international treaties and conventions to combat the menace of Drug Abuse:
          • United Nations (UN) Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961).
          • UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988).


    The illicit drug menace in India is a complex and multifaceted problem that requires a comprehensive and holistic approach to address. By taking a range of measures to reduce the demand for drugs, disrupt the supply of drugs, and provide support for individuals and communities affected by drug abuse, it is possible to make progress in combating this issue and improving the well-being of people across the country.

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