The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985 (NDPS Act) sets out the statutory framework for drug law enforcement in India. This Act consolidates the erstwhile principal Acts, viz. the Opium Act 1857, the Opium Act 1878 and the Dangerous Drugs Act, 1930. The NDPS Act also incorporates provisions designed to implement India's obligations under various International Conventions. Certain significant amendments were made in the Act in 1989 to provide for the forfeiture of property derived from drug trafficking and for control over chemicals and substances used in the manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. In order to give effect to the statutory provisions relating to these substances, an order, namely the N.D.P.S. (Regulation of Controlled Substances) Order, was promulgated by the Government of India in 1993 to control, regulate and monitor the manufacture, distribution, import, export, transportation etc of any substance which the Government may declare to be a 'controlled substance' under the Act. The statutory regime in India consequently covers drug trafficking, drug related assets as well as substances which can be used, in the manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Some further amendments were incorported in the NDPS Act in 2001, mainly to introduce a graded punishment.

The primary counter narcotics focus areas in India includes:-

  1. Surveillance and enforcement at import points and land borders.
  2. Preventive and interdiction efforts along the known drug routes.
  3. Control measures at export points, such as air-passenger terminals, cargo terminals and foreign post offices.
  4. Improved co-ordination between the various drug law enforcement agencies.
  5. Identification and eradication of illicit cultivation and the wild growth of cannabis and the opium poppy.
  6. Strengthening of the intelligence apparatus to improve the collection, collation, analysis and dissemination of operational intelligence
  7. Increased international co-operation, both in operational and long term intelligence as well as in investigations and mutual legal assistance.