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“Drug abuse on the rise”

Special Correspondent

Photo: S.R. Raghunathan

CREATING AWAKENING:NCC cadets taking out an awareness rally jointly organised by State and Central anti-narcotics agencies, against drug abuse in Chennai on Sunday. The rally was flagged off by City Police Commissioner J.K. Tripathy. —

CHENNAI: Drug abuse in India is on the rise, S. Davidson, Director, South Zone, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), said here on Sunday.

Addressing a press conference in connection with the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, he said cocaine, which was not available in the country upto 2005, was available now and some seizures had been made. Cocaine was sold for Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 per gram. “When cocaine is available, other drugs should be easily available,” he added.

With regard to heroin, he said there was lot of adulteration. As it was mixed with too many chemicals in India, it was not much prevalent. According to him, it is ganja, heroin, marijuana and cocaine which are the illicit substances in use in the country. “This is apart from pharmaceutical drugs, regarding which the agency has no idea of how much is being misused.”

The NCB, which is celebrating its silver jubilee this year, had been doing tremendous work despite shortage of manpower. “From a mere enforcement agency, we have now started creating awareness on drug abuse and even training people in a bid to prevent its spread, especially among the college students, the most vulnerable section of the society. Now we have become really serious so that the plight of Latin American countries should not befall India”.

Among the NCB's initiatives are a poster campaign and the forming of anti-narcotics clubs in colleges. The bureau was reaching out to well-structured units like NCC and NSS and trying to give them field training, like taking them to de-addiction centres. It was trying to tap cultural forms also like drama and music. “Besides, we are going in for permanent recruitment of staff.”

Mr. Davidson admitted that the agency had no proper statistics on the number of people suffering from this “hidden disease”. Similarly, it had no idea regarding the mortality rate.

At present, it had become a serious issue in Manipur and Punjab, which are close to the Golden Triangle.

Nepal had been producing a lot of hashish which found its way to Uttar Pradesh and percolated to even Delhi and Mumbai. According to a research conducted in 2001, 15 cities had been affected. Thanks to the NCB, on an average 7,000 acres to 10,000 acres of illicit poppy had been destroyed per year. In the south, illegal cultivation of poppy had been noticed only in a few places in Karnataka and in Kerala.

Similarly, Andhra Pradesh unit had been doing an excellent job and had been seizing tonnes of ganja cultivated near a river on the Andhra Pradesh-Orissa-Chattisgarh border.

He said the heroin trafficking in the India-Sri lanka sector had slumped drastically.

He was happy to point out that National Drugs and Psy/hotropic Substances Act had been very effective and most of the cases had ended in conviction.

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