Don’t brush child drug abuse under the carpet: SC to Centre
- The Supreme Court gave the Centre a four-month deadline to formulate and adopt a comprehensive national plan to combat the rising menace of drug, alcohol abuse among children.
- The judgment said the harmful effects of drugs, alcohol and tobacco abuse among children should be made a specific content in the school curriculum under the aegis of the New Education Policy proposed by the Centre.
- The verdict quotes from the Census 2011 that 24 crore children, constituting 24 per cent of the population of the country, are adolescent. They constitute a vulnerable age group for social, educational, moral and physical development. Protecting children from widespread prevalence of substance abuse is one of the biggest policy challenges facing India.
- The judgment came on a petition filed by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan led by Nobel prize winner Kailash Sathyarthi that the fundamental rights of children, especially those suffering from and involved in substance use and abuse, were violated due to non-compliance with the government’s action plan for reduction in drug demand and supply.
- The judgment quotes the sample study of the National Commission on Protection of Child Rights in August 2013 to show that the mean age of onset was lowest for tobacco at 12.3 years, followed by onset of inhalants at 12.4 years, cannabis at 13.4 years, alcohol at 13.6 years, proceeding then to use of harder substances like opium, heroin at 14.3-14.9 years and then finally substances through injecting route at 15.1 years.