Kochi: The Kerala High Court has directed the state police chief to prepare a special project to ensure that the educational institutions and universities in the state are drug-free. Campus police units should be set up for this.
Guidelines should also be given to school, college and university authorities, charting out their responsibilities to ensure a drug-free campus. The court assessed that the drug abuse among the youth and children was increasing in Kerala.
Retired IPS officer N Ramachandran had written a letter to the HC, pointing out the increasing drug abuse in the state. Based on the letter, the HC had taken up the case suo moto and the division bench, including the Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice A M Shaffique, gave the directives.
The HC also instructed to find the supply links, similar to how COVID-19 contact-tracing is done.
Based on the police intelligence report, a surveillance and law enforcement system is needed.
The Chief Secretary should call for a meet of the various departments and representatives of the mental health authority and prepare an action plan. The student police cadet, NCC and NSS should be roped in for creating awareness, along with the use of social media.
The court also directed that counselling and rehabilitation facilities should be extended to students, who have become addicted to drugs, with the cooperation of the parents and educational institutions.
'Use drug-detection kits'
Former Kottayam police chief, who wrote to the HC on the rampant drug abuse in the state, emphasised on the need for using drug detection kits.
"Kerala is fast becoming the drug capital of the country. The situation is alarming. Several youths, who have fallen prey to drug abuse, are becoming accused in cases. Incidents such as jilted lovers setting girls on fire, sons trying to assault their mothers and accidents caused due to speeding vehicles are being reported," he added.
The retired IPS officer pointed out that Kerala has been able to make great strides in the battle against smoking and alcohol consumption. However, no effective steps have been taken against drug abuse apart from awareness programmes, he added.
"Justice P R Ramachandra Menon in his verdict in 2019 had instructed that the police and excise should use drug detection kits. The police had then procured 50 such kits on a trial basis.
“If this were to become a success there should be directives to use more kits at schools, colleges, various institutions and the IT sector. However, this was not implemented,” he pointed out.
"There are 'no smoking' boards at several places. But there is no board, informing the public that the use and possession of drugs is an offence. Such boards should be kept at education institutions, public spaces, hospitals, and jails," the former cop explained.
He also pointed out that there was no system to ascertain if a person has used drugs at these institutions.
"It would cost less than Rs 500 to use the detection kit. If the usage of kits is increased, the drug use would reduce by 50 per cent. Through such activities, we can make Kerala the first narcotic-free state in India," he asserted.