Beginning today, the Narcotics Intelligence Bureau (NIB) will be co-ordinating with the School and Higher Education Departments to kick-off a State-wide campaign to increase awareness about the ill-effects of drug abuse among school and college students. “Nearly 10% of the drugs that flows into the State, especially ganja, is supplied to college students. Ganja and pharmaceutical drugs are mostly used by the students,” said Abash Kumar, ADGP crime, who heads the NIB.
Also, heroin has given way to intravenous drug usage, use of sedatives and painkillers. This increases the intensity of addiction and hastens the process of complete subjugation to the narcotic dependence, he says.
In 2018 till May, the NIB has booked 693 cases, arrested 709 persons and seized over ₹2 crore worth narcotics across the State. Last year, a total of 1,909 cases were booked, 2,016 persons arrested and over ₹16 crore worth narcotic substances were seized.
The department is now trying to prevent it by creating awareness among the students. “We will be picking one school and college in each area and conducting awareness programmes and competitions to create awareness about the dangers of narcotic substances,” he says. “In many colleges using some form of narcotics has become a fashion statement. What was once a designer lifestyle among a few rich people in the metros has permeated down to the masses,” he notes.
According to him, the NIB has completely stopped ganja cultivation in Tamil Nadu, particularly in Theni district. “The cultivation was once patronised by LTTE sympathisers and was a source of finance for them. The cultivation has now generally shifted to Vishakapattinam in Andhra Pradesh, especially in the areas dominated by the Naxal elements. The Andhra Pradesh government is currently engaged in fighting the war against these elements,” says Mr. Abash Kumar.
To an extent ‘Idukki ganja’ is also smuggled into Tamil Nadu. “We are co-ordinating with the Railways and State Transport Department to thwart attempts to smuggle ganja into the State by trains and lorries,” he says.
Those needing assistance to come out of drug and alcohol addiction can contact the toll-free helpline – 1800 – 11 – 0031 – set up by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.