Panel discusses curbing narco peddling from bordering nations

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New Delhi, Nov 20 (IANS) An apex government panel formed to combat narco trafficking discussed issues related to large scale heroin trafficking from neighbouring countries and also measures to curb smuggling of Tramadol, a narcotic-like pain medication, from India to other countries and that of codeine-based cough syrups to Bangladesh.

According to a Home Ministry statement, these were among the issues discussed at a meeting of the Apex Committee under the Narco Coordination Centre (NCORD) mechanism.

The Apex Committee took stock of the existing drug abuse and trafficking scenario in the country and discussed about the possible mechanisms to address it.

In particular, the issues related to large scale heroin trafficking from neighbouring countries, the diversion and abuse of pharmaceutical preparations containing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, emergence of synthetic drugs and New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), and issues related to poppy cultivation in the country were discussed.

Further, measures to curb smuggling of Tramadol from India to other countries and that of codeine based cough syrups to Bangladesh were also deliberated upon. At the same time, the participants acknowledged that availability of controlled drugs for medical purposes was equally important and presently there is lack of adequate access to such drugs for pain relief as well as Buprenorphine for opioid substitution treatment because of stringent policies, which needs to be addressed, the statement said.

The government constituted the Narco Coordination Centre (NCORD) mechanism under the Director General (DG), Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), in order to have effective coordination amongst all the drug law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders, and also to provide a common platform for discussions on drug-trafficking related issues.

The NCORD mechanism has recently been revamped by the MHA to create a four-tier structure to improve coordination in Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) matters.

Recently, the Government constituted an Apex Committee under the Union Home Secretary to support the coordination mechanism under the NCORD, to enable focused resolution of policy and operational issues.

Apart from the Apex level Committee under the Home Secretary at the Central level, there is an Executive Committee also at the Central level, apart from Committees at the State and district level for down the line effective coordination.

The first meeting of the Central level Apex Committee was convened on November 19 to discuss issues related to the NDPS policy and operational matters of the drug law enforcement agencies.

This high level committee meeting was convened by Rakesh Asthana, DG, NCB, who is the member-convenor, and was attended by A. P. Maheshwari, Special Secretary (IS) MHA, and other officials.

–IANS

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