New Delhi, June 26 : President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil and the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, in their messages on the occasion of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, appealed to the people today to put up a united fight against drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
Patil and Singh described drug abuse as a major crisis confronting the nation.
Drug Control agencies were asked to focus on women as they could counsel family members during anti-drug drives.
Dr. Singh stressed on the need for coordinated action between the policing agencies of the Centre and State Governments. The strengthening of surveillance at borders should also be considered on a priority basis, he added.
According to a United Nations report, a majority of the over 61 per cent of drug users in South Asia hail from India, and 17, is the average age when Indians get exposed to alcohol.
In March this year, the annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) noted increased trafficking and abuse of cannabis and heroin in South Asia.
It is said that West African traffickers were targeting countries in South Asia, particularly India for cocaine trafficking.
The report also said that cross-border trafficking is easy due to the porous borders that India shares with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.