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National survey to be conducted to find number of people taking drugs: Govt

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Government is conducting a national survey through the AIIMS to ascertain the number of people in the country who have taken to drugs, whose results are likely to be out by 2018.

Informing members in Rajya Sabha, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot said the national survey is being conducted through an agency of AIIMS in Delhi and government will provide all support for the smooth conduct of this survey.

“The Ministry has recently assigned the work of conducting the national survey on the extent and pattern of substance use to national drug dependence treatment centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi,” he said in a written reply.

Gehlot said the national policy on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 2012 has a provision for such a survey to be conducted every five years to study the change and pattern of drug abuse. He said the policy was framed in 2012 and “we felt the need for an extensive survey as to the number of people who have taken to drugs abuse.”

“The survey should have been held every five years, but no such survey was conducted by the previous UPA government. At present, it is estimated that around 7.21 crore people are affected due to drugs,” the Minister said.

Replying to supplementaries, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Vijay Sampla said, “a survey was to be held every five years. Their (Congress) intentions are clear that they did not carry out any survey every five years.”

Sampla said a survey was carried out as a pilot project in Mumbai, Amritsar and Imphal, with a small sample and thus the government is now getting another national survey with a sample size of over 6 lakh that will carry out 21,000 samples each from different states as the earlier surveys were done only taking a few places.

“The survey will find out every kind of drug abuse in the country,” he said.

A number of members raised concerns over the abuse of drugs in the country, as Congress leader Anand Sharma sought a discussion on the issue, saying it was a “very serious matter”.

PTI

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