AHMEDABAD:  Drug incidents have been rising in Gujarat over the recent years. Government data reveals that, in the past five years, authorities in Gujarat have confiscated 93,691 kg of drugs, 2,229 liters of liquid drugs, and 93,763 drug pills and injections.

The National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in India indicates that in Gujarat, there are 17,35,000 male and 185,000 female drug addicts. On December 13, 2023, in the Rajya Sabha, MPs Dheeraj Prasad Shahu and Dr. Amee Yagnik were informed by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, about the seizures in Gujarat from 2018 to 2022. These included 27,842.639 kg of opium-based drugs, 59,365.983 kg of cannabis-based drugs, 75.115 kg of cocaine, 3,789.143 kg of psychotropic substances, and various other drugs in different forms.

Notably, in 2022, of the 71.89 kg of cocaine seized across India, 39.1 kg was from Gujarat. The number of drug addicts in Gujarat is also on the rise. According to the 2018 survey by the Ministry through NDDTC, AIIMS, there are 236,000 males addicted to cannabis-based drugs, 791,000 to opium-based drugs, and 659,000 to sedatives. Among females, 149,000 are addicted to cannabis-based drugs, 1,000 to opioids, and 33,000 to sedatives.

Inhalants are used by 49,000 men and 3,000 women. Hiren Banker, a spokesperson for the Gujarat Congress, criticized the state government for inadequate police force to combat drug crimes. He highlighted that Gujarat has only 117 police personnel per lakh population, less than the national average of 152 and much lower than the required 174.

The Ministry of Home Affairs acknowledged the challenges posed by Gujarat’s vast maritime borders for drug trafficking control. Hiren Banker, a Gujarat Congress spokesperson, attacked the state administration, saying, “The government does not have enough police force in the state to fight drug crime, so how can the government take strict action?”