India: National Conference on Drug Law Enforcement calls for united responses to counter illicit trafficking and protect vulnerable groups

Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India/16 December 2022: Emerging trends and patterns in illicit drug trafficking highlight the need for law enforcement agencies to constantly enhance their knowledge and skills. With traffickers using novel model operandi and technology, access to drugs has become simpler than ever with online sales, and major drug trade on the dark web has now exceeded some US $315 million annually. Rapid technological innovations, combined with the agility and adaptability of drug traffickers who are using online platforms to sell drugs and other substances, are likely to increase the availability of illicit drugs to the end consumers’ doorsteps maintaining end to end anonymity. The increased vulnerability of young people to drug use is also an area of concern.

Addressing these emerging challenges requires a comprehensive understanding and collective response from law enforcement agencies. In this respect, UNODC experts delivered presentations and provided technical support at the Second National Conference on Drug Law Enforcement, convened by the Central Academy of Police Training in Bhopal, India.

The two-day Conference brought together nearly 80 senior and operational level officials from different law enforcement agencies, narcotics control, police, health and government departments from across India. Discussions were focused on international frameworks, investigations and prosecutions, synthetic drugs and engagement of young people to prevent drug use, among others.

The Conference was opened by Mr. SN Pradhan, Director General, Narcotics Control Bureau, India, UNODC South Asia Representative Mr. Marco Teixeira and Mr. Pawan Srivastava, Director, CAPT. “Multi-stakeholder efforts and working as a team to counter the drug problem is key” was emphasised at the opening ceremony.

At the conference, Mr. Teixeira shared global conventions, good practices and legal frameworks to advance cooperation—including UNODC’s initiatives to counter the drug problem with capacity building, information sharing, health, prevention and youth engagement. “UNODC values its partnership with the Government of India and looks forward to jointly work towards addressing drugs and countering crime, with focus on vulnerable groups. We stand committed to enhancement of capacity of law enforcement agencies, forging cooperation and facilitating information sharing among the member states,” he said.

Highlighting threats posed by synthetic drugs and new psychoactive substances, UNODC South Asia’s drug law enforcement expert Mr. Jayant Misra called for stronger information sharing and coordination between law enforcement agencies to effectively respond to emerging trends and patterns.

UNODC South Asia Communications Officer Samarth Pathak called for mainstreaming SDGs, peace and integrity in curriculum, showcasing the GRACE Initiative and emphasising ways to engage and empower young people with education. His presentation focused on ways to not only effectively sensitise young people but also enable them to resist negative peer influences, with activity-based learning, mentorship and positive alternatives to counter drugs, crime and other risky behaviours. 

In a session moderated by Ms. Radhika Chakravarty, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, participants also exchanged insights on ways to bolster steps to sensitize and create awareness on substance use addressing specific needs of children, youth and women, and prevention and treatment of substance use disorders in underserved populations. Discussions also focused on fostering better coordination among the departments of central, state, and union territories.

The Central Academy for Police Training Bhopal is the premier training institute under the aegis of the Bureau of Police Research and Development, with a mandate to train Police, Prosecution, and Prison service of all states. The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India has declared the Training Centre for Drug Law Enforcement (TCDLE) at CAPT Bhopal the “Nodal Training center for training Drug Law Enforcement officers” of country.

This activity contributed to SDG 3, SDG 4, SDG 5 and SDG 16:

(In partnership with the Central Academy for Police Training, Bhopal)