The article 'Indian Laws related to Drugs' by Shivani Sangwan highlights the use and misuse of drugs along with the legislation to keep a check on the same.

The article 'Indian Laws related to Drugs' by Shivani Sangwan highlights the use and misuse of drugs along with the legislation to keep a check on the same. Drugs are essential tools for treating and preventing diseases and ailments. It has contributed significantly to human health as well as enhanced life expectancy. New pharmaceuticals are developing yearly, and we can see development due to advanced technology.

A habit-forming substance or chemical that has the potential to be misused and directly affects the brain, consciousness, neurological system, and overall bodily function is referred to as a drug. Drug abuse is harmful to the human body and, at its worst, can be fatal. The most significant fact is that it is prohibited by Indian law and is deemed anti-social. The government has therefore passed several acts to control these medications' production, formulation, and distribution. In addition, it has passed several regulations to stop people from abusing these narcotics and hurting others.


A drug is any substance, outcome, or product produced to be used to modify, study, or treat harmful physiological conditions for the benefit of the recipient. According to the 2021 World Drug Report of the UN Office on Medications and Crime, prescription drugs and their components, or "precursors," are increasingly being diverted for recreational use in India. This country produces the most generic drugs worldwide. All medications are intended for internal or external use in humans or animals, as well as all compounds used in the treatment, mitigation, or prevention of any disease or ailment in humans or animals, including preparations to ward off insects like mosquitoes.

Drug use has grown to be one of the main issues that millions of children and adults are currently dealing with. Although there are countless justifications for drug usage, we cannot overlook the fact that millions of adolescents are eliminated from the society as a result of drug trafficking and drug sales. The Indian government has been using an integrated strategy, including all relevant Ministries and Departments that could support and enhance one another's activities. The steps being taken include educating young people about drugs and healthy alternatives through suitable curriculum modifications and school environment sensitization.

Through the involvement of Non-Governmental Organizations, programs are being established for the sensitization of the teachers, parents, and peer groups in a school setting. To inform the public about the negative effects of alcohol and drugs and enlist the support of various youth organizations, the media has also been contacted. The Ministry has been aggressively employing print and audio-visual media to inform the public about the negative effects of drug usage as well as to spread information about service delivery.

The entire strategy is based on the requirement to thoroughly address the pervasive ignorance and lack of information regarding the negative effects of drug misuse prevention/rehabilitation services and to create an environment of drug abstinence by raising awareness among the general public. According to this viewpoint, the strategy for raising public awareness of the negative effects of drug abuse takes into account the issue's cultural dimensions. A differentiated strategy has been used to inform the public about at-risk populations.

Legislations related to the use of drugs in India

The following are some crucial Indian regulations governing drugs and poison:

The Act on Drugs and Cosmetics (1940)

This Act, primarily governs pharmaceuticals or objects of washing (apart from soap), beautifying and boosting attractiveness, or altering appearances. It was modified in 1964 to accommodate Ayurveda and Unani drugs. The act is now known as the Drugs and Cosmetics Amendment Act after being recently updated in 2008. A label stating the precise formula or list of components in every patented or proprietary pharmaceutical treatment covered by this legislation must be placed on the container. This law gives the federal government the authority to create a national drug laboratory and a technical advisory board for drugs to assist and advise both the federal and state governments.

For safety, it regulates the potency, purity, and quality of medicines. It controls the manufacture, distribution, and sale of these medications. The scale of penalty for several offences, including the selling of fake drugs, adulteration of medications and cosmetics, hazardous contamination, etc., has been enhanced according to the amended laws.

The Drugs and Cosmetics Rules (1945)

It includes all types of medications used in therapies under allopathic, Ayurvedic, Unani, and Siddha preparations. This law is a derivation of the Drugs and Cosmetic Act of 1940. The rule primarily addresses the type and caliber of medications. By establishing particular rules for their storage, display, sale, dispensing, labelling, prescription, etc., it also regulates the pharmaceuticals. The following boards have been established to offer technical guidance to the federal and state governments on issues related to drug control: The technical advisory board for pharmaceuticals, the consultative committee on drugs, and the technical advisory boards for Ayurveda and Unani. The national drugs laboratory was founded in 1962 to make it easier to analyze or test drug samples to determine their quality. Manufacturing, stocking, or selling poor or fake medications carries harsh penalties. The regulations for carrying out clinical studies for new medications have been enhanced.

The Pharmacy Act (1948)

This Act contains provisions for the regulation of the pharmacy profession and for the establishment of the Pharmacy Council of India, which oversees pharmacy education across the nation.

State pharmacy councils are available for pharmacist registration in each state. This legislation aims to restrict who can prepare, mix, or dispense medications on a licensed physician's prescription to only registered pharmacists.

The Drugs Control Act (1950)

This Act controls the production and distribution of medications and gives manufacturers and dealers instructions on how to set the maximum price for each drug.

The Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act, 1954

This legislation aims to ensure that moral standards are upheld when drug manufacturers advertise their products. This law prohibits the offensive advertising of pharmaceuticals that promise to cure ailments including genital warts, impotence, monthly irregularities, infertility, abortion, misconception, and insanity, among others. Under this Act, advertisements that insult morals or decency may be prohibited.

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act, 1985

The Opium Acts of 1857 and 1878, the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1930, drugs of abuse, criminal penalties for drug trafficking violations, and regulation of psychoactive substances are all consolidated and amended under this Act. Opiates, cannabis, and cocaine are considered narcotic substances under this law. LSD, phencyclidine, amphetamines, barbiturates, methaqualone, benzodiazepines, mescaline, psilocybin, and designer drugs (MDMA, DMT, etc.) are examples of psychotropic medications covered by this Act. In 1988 and 2001, it underwent more changes. It stops the trafficking of narcotic and psychoactive drugs.

Any infringement of the law has a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of Rs. 1 lakh, and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of Rs. 20 lakh. The minimal quantity that must be seized for it to be considered an offense is 250 mg for heroin, 5 grams for hashish or charas, 5 grams for opium, 125 mg for cocaine, and 500 grams for ganja.

In 1986, the national government of India established the Narcotic Control Bureau, which has regional offices in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, and Varanasi in addition to its headquarters in New Delhi. The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Consultative Committee was established by the central government in 1988. It consists of a chairperson and 18 members from different professions who, among other duties, would examine the NDPS act regularly. Poppy, cannabis and coca plant growing are forbidden under the NDPS laws. However, it permits the restricted, strictly regulated production of these plants for research and medical purposes.

Drugs (Price Control) Order, 1995

The Government of India introduced the Medications Price Manage Order, in 1995 to regulate and control the production and pricing of the first scheduled drugs. It has the authority to set the maximum sale pricing for bulk medications included in the first schedule as well as the information that producers must provide concerning both scheduled and non-scheduled bulk drugs. It may also set the retail cost of formulations that are on a schedule. The producers must keep accurate records of their products and drug production for inspection.

Judiciary's take on the issue

In a recent ruling entitled Hira Singh v. Union of India (2017), the Supreme Court applied a severe interpretation to the terms of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (Amendment) Act 2001. It has so broadened the definition of "small quantity" possession and the penalty imposed on the accused. The Court ruled that when determining whether a seizure of a mixture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances with one or more neutral materials constituted a "small quantity" or "commercial quantity," the weight of the neutral materials should be taken into account in addition to the weight of the offending drug. The two-judge bench's decision in E. Micheal Raj v. Intelligence Officer the Narcotic Control Appeal Bureau (2005), was rejected by the court.

The division bench, in this case, had ruled that when deciding whether the mixture fell under modest or commercial quantities, the amount of neutral ingredient should not be taken into account. It only considered the narcotic medicine or substance's actual weight to be important.

In its judgment on State of Rajasthan v. Uday Lal(2006), the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India stated, "Before analyzing the same, it is relevant to mention that to consolidate and amend the law relating to narcotic drugs, to make stringent provisions for the control and regulation of operations relating to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, to provide for the forfeiture of property derived from, or used in, illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, to implement the provisions of the International Convention on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, the Parliament enacted NDPS Act in the year 1985. This is a special Act and it has been enacted to make stringent provisions for the control and regulation of operations relating to the narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances."

Furthermore, the Hon'ble Court in State of Kerala v. Rajesh(2019) observed,

"The scheme of Section 37 reveals that the exercise of power to grant bail is not only subject to the limitations contained under Section 439 of the CrPC but is also subject to the limitation placed by Section 37 which commences with a non-obstante clause. The operative part of the said section is in the negative form prescribing the enlargement of bail to any person accused of commissioning an offence under the Act unless two conditions are satisfied. The first condition is that the prosecution must be given an opportunity to oppose the application, and the second is that the Court must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of such offence. If either of these two conditions is not satisfied, the ban for granting bail operates."


Gary Lewis has rightly said,

"Drug abuse is an exclusively urban phenomenon is a myth. Injecting drugs and high-risk behaviours are seen in urban and rural areas."

Drug misuse has a negative impact on society and has increased crime rates as addicts search for ways to finance their drug habit. Drugs reduce restraint and impede judgment, which makes routine offences easier to commit. Domestic violence and eve-teasing cases are on the rise. Families suffer as a result of drug use's cultural and social influences.

Long-term use of these chemicals alters other brain chemical circuits and systems as well, impacting mental processes like memory, behaviour, stress, and decision-making as well as learning and judgment.

To control the use of drugs and poisons, India has numerous acts and laws. When prescribing and dispensing these medications at a hospital or pharmacy, it is crucial to understand their legal implications. By being aware of them, we can prevent mistakes from being made because we were unaware of these regulations and get wise medico-legal advice on drugs and poisons.


To deal with the misuse and illegal treatment of drugs some of the suggestions are as follows:

The strict and swift action of authorities: To deal with the omissions and illegalities associated with drugs, the authorities should be swift enough to deal with the cases reported and should take strict legal action against the same.

Regular check on transportation of drugs: There should be a regular and effective check on the transportation of drugs at every level of an area. This would obstruct the consumption of drugs without authority.

Documents check: The seller of the drugs should be well aware of the buyer. The sellers should ask for proper documents to provide any sort of mistake.

Awareness sessions: Awareness sessions should be organized telling the sellers and buyers of such drugs about existing legislation so that they abstain from committing any illegal act. Furthermore, educational institutions should organize such sessions to teach students as well as parents about the same.


  1. The Act on Drugs and Cosmetics (1940), Available Here
  2. The Pharmacy Act 1948, Available Here
  3. The Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act 1954, Available Here
  4. The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act 1985, Available Here
  5. Drugs (Price Control) Order, 1995, Available Here
  6. Dr.Sharayu Gahirwar, Drug Abuse-A Main Problem Of Indian Society In Current Scenario,
    Available Here
  7. Dr. Prof. Abhay Butle, Government And Administration Role On Drug Abuse, Available Here
  8. Artha Shyam, Indian laws relating to drugs and poisons, Available Here
  9. T. Millo, A.K. Jaiswal, Kulbushan Prasad, The Indian Laws Relating to Drugs and Poisons, Available Here
  10. Farhad Singh Kohli, Pure Drug Content or Entire Mixture? Punishment Beyond Culpability, Available Here
  11. Analysis of the Drug Laws in India - Peculiar yet Imperative,
    Available Here
  12. Hira Singh v. Union of India, Criminal Appeal No. 722 of 2017
  13. E. Micheal Raj v. Intelligence Officer the Narcotic Control, Appeal (crl.) 2005
  14. State of Rajasthan v. Uday Lal, S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 3346 of 2006
  15. State of Kerala v. Rajesh, SLP(Crl.) No(s). 7309­7312 of 2019

Important Links

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Shivani Sangwan

Shivani Sangwan

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