With rise in cases of Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) and huge recovery of illegal contraband, specially heroin or chitta, checking the supply of drugs and curbing its use among youth still remains a major challenge for cops in Himachal.

The HP police had registered 1439 cases in 2019, witnessing an increase of 7.2 percent as compared to 1342 cases in 2018 and had recovered 8.50 kg of heroin, 327 kg charas and 17.05 opium along with other narcotics substances.

A total of 1925 accused including 12 foreign nationals were arrested in 2019 while the number of arrests in 2018 stood at 1722 which includes 10 foreign nationals.

Talking to media, Director General of Police, S R Mardi said the rise in number of NDPS had been witnessed rise due to strict action against drug mafias and the police in association with neighbouring states was devising new techniques to curb its supply.

“We have launched several initiatives including awareness drive among masses especially youth and have involved eminent personalities to dissuade youth from drug abuse.

We have roped in Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, Governor, Chief Minister, eminent personalities as Anupam Kher, Preeti Zinta, Kangna Ranaut, Amir Khan, sportspersons as Ajay Thakur, Priyanka Negi and Sushma Verma,” he said.

Mardi said eminent personalities and actor had posted video message against drug abuse in social media.

The Police had also launched a mobile App, Drug Free Himachal for sharing of information on cultivation and smuggling of drugs in the state.

Now anyone can share information of drug trade or smuggling through the App and the identity of the informer will be kept secret, he added.

Besides, a toll free Drugs De-addiction helpline had also been launched to counsel addicts and parents. In addition, information regarding drug smugglers or trade can be provided on the helpline too.

HP DGP blamed 2001 amendments in NDPS Act that prescribes punishment as per the quantity seized from the accused and attributed the rise in cases of drug abuse to the dilution of laws.

“Before 2001, there were provision for strict punishment under NDPS, however, after amendments, the law became flexible and result in rise in cases of drug smuggling,” he said.

He urged the Central government to restore previous law to deter smugglers from indulging in drug trade.

Mardi further stated that the Police was also counseling parents and drug addicts to go in for drug de-addiction programmes.

“Moreover for curbing drug trade, the cooperation of general public is of utmost importance as they can provide better information on people involved.

In addition, parents’ role too is equally responsible as they can better guide or educate their wards on ill-effects of drugs,” he added.

He added a total of 19,924 cases were registered in Himachal Pradesh in 2019, marking an increase of 330 cases as compared to 19594 cases in 2018.