New Delhi: Home Minister Rajnath Singh, on Wednesday, termed drug abuse a threat to public health and even national security.
“Our global society is facing serious consequences of drug abuse. It undermines the socio-economic and political stability and sustainable development,” Rajnath Singh said.
The minister was addressing the inaugural session of the Sub-Regional Drug Focal Point Meeting and Drug Demand Reduction Expert Group Consultation, South Asia organised by Narcotics Control Bureau.
Rajnath Singh cited narco-terrorism as leading to threats to the national security and sovereignty of states. The involvement of various terrorist groups and syndicates in drug trafficking leads to this issue .
The minister said drugs also destroy the health and fabric of the society and was considered to be the reason for both petty offences and heinous crimes such as smuggling of arms and ammunition and money laundering.
He said drug trafficking and abuse has continued its significant toll on valuable human lives and productive years of many person around the globe.
“With the growth and development of world economy, drug traffickers are also seamlessly trafficking various type of drugs from one corner to other ensuring the availability of the contraband for the vulnerable segment of the society who fall into the trap of drug peddlers and traffickers,” he added.
Rajnath Singh said: “India’s approach towards tackling the menace of drugs is well enshrined in our constitution which, in the Directive Principles, lay down that the state shall make endeavours to bring about the prohibition of substances injurious for health, except for medicinal and scientific purposes.”
Drug trafficking and its connection to other organised crimes is a major challenge for the drug law enforcement agencies. The home ministry, narcotics control bureau, and other drug law enforcement agencies of India are fully capable of dealing with such challenges.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s charity has announced a $50 million donation to help fight the nation’s opioid epidemic.
Bloomberg Philanthropies said over the next three years it will help up to 10 states address the causes of opioid addiction and strengthen prevention and treatment programs. Its initiative involves a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Johns Hopkins University and Vital Strategies.
Bloomberg, who has been considering a 2020 Democratic presidential bid, was expected to discuss the funding Friday during his keynote address at The Bloomberg American Health Summit in Washington. A spokeswoman said there was “no stated link” between his political aspirations and the $50 million investment to fight opioids.
Bloomberg’s charity said CDC data shows there were more than 70,000 U.S. drug overdose deaths last year, including more than 47,000 from opioids, the highest numbers on record. It said those numbers are a leading factor in the decline of U.S. life expectancy over the past three years.
Bloomberg called the sobering numbers part of “a national crisis.”
“For the first time since World War I, life expectancy in the U.S. has declined over the past three years — and opioids are a big reason why,” he said. “We cannot sit by and allow this alarming trend to continue — not when so many Americans are being killed in what should be the prime of their lives.”
He said in a statement he hoped his charity’s work in Pennsylvania, one of the states hardest hit by the opioids crisis, would lay the groundwork “for more effective action across the country.”
The partnership focuses on identifying new approaches to tackle opioids and plugging gaps in current treatment and prevention programs. Staff members from partner organizations will support state and local programs to reduce opioid-related deaths, and successful initiatives and guidelines will be replicated elsewhere, with the goal of creating a model for the rest of the nation.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said he was “deeply grateful” for the financial and technical resources his state will receive through the partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies.
“From our first responders and health care professionals to teachers and social service providers, heroes across our commonwealth are saving lives and protecting residents in our communities every day from this awful scourge,” Wolf, a Democrat, said in a statement issued by the Bloomberg charity. “We are doing everything we can to help them, and I am confident that this partnership will mark a turning point in our efforts.”
The Drug Enforcement Administration said this month in its National Drug Threat Assessment that heroin, fentanyl and other opioids continue to be the highest drug threat in the nation.
Bloomberg, who has been an independent, a Republican and a Democrat, declared lifetime allegiance to the Democratic Party and outlined an aggressive timeline for deciding whether to run for president in an interview with The Associated Press this month. He has regularly criticized President Donald Trump and spent a fortune to help elect Democrats in the midterm elections. (VOA)