Last Updated on September 26, 2021 by The Health Master
The All India Organization of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), representing more than 9.4 lakh chemists in the country, has sought direction from National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to district authorities to do away with mandatory installation of CCTV cameras in all medical stores to prevent drugs and substance abuse among children and illicit trafficking.
The AIOCD also sought direction to the implementing agencies not to cover all medicines which are not under the purview of Joint Action Plan (JAP) on Prevention of Drugs and Substance Abuse among Children and Illicit Trafficking prepared by NCPCR in collaboration with Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in February this year.
JAP is an attempt to standardise practices that can help stop selling drugs and substances in surrounding areas of schools and other educational institutes through enforcing existing laws.
JAP notes that school-going children who use substances are mostly using legal but harmful substances in the form of tobacco and or alcohol. However, the out of school children, especially those on streets or slums and vulnerable populations, are at risk of experimenting with more hazardous substances, both licit and illicit in nature.
JAP made several suggestions including random checking of footage of CCTV cameras installed around schools by child welfare police officers to prevent sale of drugs or such shops operating from around the premises.
Welcoming the step taken by NCPCR and NCB to prevent drugs and substance abuse among children and illicit trafficking, AIOCD stated that many implementing authorities are misinterpreting said instructions who are covering all drugs including lifesaving drugs which are not under the purview of JAP.
Also, compulsion of CCTV in all medical stores even away from schools and education institutes is arbitrary, it said.
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A number of district magistrates issued orders under aSection 133 of Criminal Procedure Code directing medical stores even away from schools to install CCTV cameras to monitor purchase by children aged less than 18 years.
Taking exception to these orders, AIOCD president JS Shinde said ““JAP categorically intends to control harmful substances like tobacco, alcohol, cigarette, Ganga, opium and such other illicit substances, solid illegally. There are sedatives and psychotropic substances such as codeine syrup, sleeping pills which fall under Schedule H, H1, X which are regulated under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 and Rules thereunder. These drugs are sold on prescription only, he said.
Medical stores are inspected by FDA Officers regularly. Hence other authorities do not need to conduct such inspections, he added.
Echoing his concern, Rajiv Singhal, general secretary, AIOCD said “Children help parents in their day-to-day activities covering purchase of prescription drugs, other general items such as Chavanprash, hair oils, vitamin supplements etc.
The elderly parents and ill parents who are unable to go to medical stores will face severe inconvenience due to this as medicines may not reach them on time. Such orders may create non availability of drugs to needy persons because of such undue restrictions.”
Singhal further stated that all chemists lack resources to set up CCTV in and around their shops. On the other hand, power outages make CCTV cameras non operative. Chemists are likely to face music for this, he said.
Hence we appealed to NCPCR to give necessary instruction to authorities to do away with compulsory installation of CCTV cameras and review the involvement of several authorities as chemists are already regulated by drugs control administration under D&C Act and Rules, he stated.