Kochi: A major concern for law enforcers in Kerala is the spurt in drug-running. As a result drug addiction among teenagers and youths has increased with pernicious effects.
Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode in Kerala are on the list of 127 vulnerable cities identified by the Union Ministry of Social Justice with acute prevalence on drug dependency.
As per a 2019 national survey conducted by the Ministry 3.1 crore people use cannabis, 2.06 crore use opium and 1.18 crore use drugs for non-medical purposes. Inhalants are used by 1.7 per cent children and 0.58 per cent adults for a high. About 8.5 per cent people inject drugs.
Alcoholism too is a problem. A around 14.6 per cent of those aged between 10-75 consume alcohol in the country, while 5.2 per cent are addicted to it. About 16 crore people consume alcohol in the country.
Alcohol dependency is increasing among school students in Kerala. In 2008, the number of drug-related cases in Kerala was 508. However, it rose to 9,242 in 2017.
It is against this backdrop the Kerala High Court has warned that the Centre and state agencies should take strict action to break the drug supply chain that includes both overseas and inter-state links. It also proposed that a special project to ensure that the educational institutions and universities in the state are drug-free.
The court also said that the assets amassed by drug traffickers should be attached. The financial transactions should be probed and the illegally acquired assets should be attached, as per Sections 68E and 68F of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
The law-enforcers should be trained on effectively applying these provisions. By making use of the Beverages Corporation’s CSR Fund and the National Fund For Control of Drug Abuse, the government can avoid financial liability and implement this, the court suggested.