IndiaIs my child punishable by law if he is caught with drugs that he is using?
Yes. Possession of drugs is in itself an offence under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act). It does not matter whether the possession is for personal consumption or for any other purpose. The punishment depends upon the quantity of drugs he possesses. However, if he is charged with either possession of small quantities of drugs or with consumption of drugs and he voluntarily seeks to undergo medical treatment for de– addiction from a hospital or an institution maintained or recognized by the government or a local authority, he shall not be liable for prosecution. This immunity from prosecution may be withdrawn if he does not undergo the complete treatment for de–addiction.
Then the quantity of drugs she is found with may exceed what is considered “Small” and she will be dealt with accordingly. The penalty for possession of various quantities of drugs is shown below:
|Small quantity||Up to 6 months rigorous imprisonment or fine up to Rs. 10,000 or both|
|More than small quantity but less than commercial quantity||Up to 10 years rigorous imprisonment and fine up to Rs. 1,00,000.|
|Commercial quantity||Rigorous imprisonment of 10 to 20 years and fine of Rs. 1,00,000 to Rs. 2,00,000|
How much drug is considered small or commercial quantity?
The quantities differ with the type of drug and are notified by the government. The quantities for a few common drugs are below:
|Drug||Small Quantity*||Commercial Quantity**|
|Heroin||5 grams||250 grams|
|Cocaine||2 grams||100 grams|
|Hashish/Charas1 Kg||100 grams||1 Kg|
|Opium||25 grams||2.5 kg|
|Ganja||1 Kg||20 Kg|
** Any quantity below the prescribed limit is Commercial quantity
Will he get any consideration for his young age under the law?
Yes. If he is less than 18 years of age, then a special law called the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act applies for any offence, which he may commit under any law including NDPS Act.
Know a drug peddler – who should I report this to?
To the nearest police station. Delhi police also has a special narcotics cell headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police. You could also report it to any officer of state excise, customs, central excise. Narcotics Control Bureau, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, or Central Bureau of Investigation, all of whom are empowered to take action under the law.
Is there any age when one can legally use drugs?
No. Drug use is not like alcohol or smoking. It is illegal for anyone of any age to use drugs.
Is there any quantity of a drug (esp. weed) that one can carry legally?
No. Possession of drugs is an offence no matter how large or small. Some drugs such as diazepam, buprenorphine, proxyvone have medical uses. You can buy and use such drugs if the doctor prescribes it. The pharmacists selling them and the companies manufacturing them also have licences under the law.
What if the amount of drug I’m carrying is less than what is prescribed as a “Small quantity” under the law?
If you carry any quantity below the threshold prescribed as small quantity, you will be punishable for possession of small quantity of drug.
Who is liable in the following situations?
My friends are using drugs on my property (we are all adults)
If you knowingly allow them to use your property to use drugs, you will be liable for the same punishment as those using drugs. If they used it without your knowledge, then you are not liable.
My friends are using drugs on my property (we are minors). In this case, would my parents be held responsible?
If you are a minor, it is likely that the property is in the name of your parents. They will be liable for punishment if they knowingly allow your friends to use drugs in their premises. As minors, your friends may enjoy protection under the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection) Act, which means you will be sent to a remand home instead of jail. However, your parents, being adults, will be sentenced for allowing their premises to be used for using drugs. It is better to play safe. If you suspect someone is likely to use drugs on your premises, DO NOT allow them to use your premises.