Union Home Minister P. Chidamabaram expressed concern over the growing drug addiction among the youth, saying that India has turned into a big market of narcotics.
Speaking at the silver jubilee celebrations of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) here, Chidambaram said: "Drugs are sold to students of many colleges and schools. This is as big as any internal security problem."
Chidambaram said every study and research has indicated that many students have experimented with drugs and drugs trafficking has increased immensely.
"The use of cocaine and other drugs and drugs trafficking have increased in last five years. This is a reflection of our inadequate response on this," he added.
Emphasising that the government has taken several measures to control the spread of narcotics, Chidambaram said: "A matching response has to come from the people taking drugs. They must not patronize bootleggers in the interest of their own health.
He asked the Narcotics Control Bureau to be strict with all those who cultivate poppy and other products that lead to the spread of drugs in the villages and school going children. He said the NCB is "hopelessly" understaffed and the government was taking urgent steps to augment the NCB staff strength.
"Two years ago we had 421 officials. The strength has doubled in two years. I expect to double it in next two years and double of that in the two years after that," he added.
The Narcotics Control Bureau was constituted by the Government on March 17, 1986. It takes measures, among others, to prevent illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psycotropic substances.