30 July, 2021

This Needs A Detox

Multiple laws make a mess of deaddiction

This Needs A Detox

The classic debate between the harm-reduction and punitive -deterrence approaches is playing out in the plains of Punjab, bringing to the open how the second approach makes a mess of efforts to address drug abuse. Recent crackdowns have targeted the distribution of drugs used in deaddiction programmes to slowly wean away addicts from their addiction, as well as the doctors prescribing them. Approved drugs like buprenorphine, a synthetic opiate, are provided in carefully calibrated and progressively lower doses that alleviate withdrawal symptoms of addictive opioids such as heroin and morphine, enabling addicts to beat the craving for the substance. The crackdown on heroin and other narcotic drugs since 2014 had forced hundreds of addicts to queue up at the doctors’ doors, mostly of private practitioners, for the treatment of withdrawal symptoms.

Buprenorphine, a “controlled psychotropic” drug under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, is also a “schedule H” drug under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. So, while...

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