Stricter law enforcement, better rehabilitation centres and more sports complexes for students were some of the suggestions made by Lok Sabha members on Tuesday to tackle the growing menace of drug abuse in the country.
Cutting across party lines, the MPs, who were participating in a short duration discussion in the Lok Sabha said that it was high time the Centre adopted a strategy like that for COVID-19 to wean youth away from drug abuse.
Demanding stricter law enforcement to check drug abuse, Congress member Gurjeet Singh Aujla said new routes such as Gujarat were being used by traffickers.
“Jails are a breeding ground for drugs. It is better that small criminals and first offenders be sent to juvenile or correctional institutions rather than jails,” Mr. Aujla said.
In a similar vein, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP Veeraswamy Kalanidhi said that drug addicts be placed in rehabilitation centres and not jail, and asked the government to set up at least one rehabilitation centre in every parliamentary constituency.
The government should spend at least ₹50 crore in every constituency to set up sports complexes to keep youngsters engaged in meaningful activities that would keep them away from drugs, Mr. Kalanidhi said.
The DMK MP also demanded that medical shops selling prescription drugs over the counter should be dealt with in the same manner as peddlers.
Trinamool Congress’ (TMC) Kalyan Banerjee said the government to stop smuggling of drugs as a first step to curb drug abuse. “Government after government has failed to stop it. This government has to stop it at any cost,” he said, adding that children need to be educated.
Observing that there was a need to de-stigmatise drug abuse and mental health, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) member Supriya Sule said that when actors Sanjay Dutt and Deepika Padukone spoke in public about their struggles with drug addiction and depression, respectively, it helped many people speak out about such issues.
Flagging the huge drug problem in Punjab, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) member Harsimrat Kaur Badal said, “Drugs have even entered schools. No one feels safe here. People are leaving the State and going abroad because of the drug menace.”
The SAD MP alleged that the future of Punjab’s youth was being ruined because Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann himself was “driving the State while drunk”.
Kunwar Danish Ali of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) said the whole House should be united to save younger generations from drugs.