Armed police wing joins anti-drug drive in schools

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The ongoing campaign against drugs is being expanded with several innovative programmes such as the ‘Battalion to School’ initiative taken up by the armed wing of the Kerala Police. Representational image

Thiruvananthapuram: The school authorities in Kerala have joined hands with the police in its fight against the increasing drug menace.

The ongoing campaign against drugs is being expanded with several innovative programmes such as the ‘Battalion to School’ initiative taken up by the armed wing of the Kerala Police.

Under ‘Battalion to School’, 30-member platoons from the armed police will now salute school leaders, principals and student police leaders as part of the campaign.

“The salute programme aims to create awareness against drugs among school students and also to collect information about drug mafia links at the school,” said M R Ajith Kumar, the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) who heads the armed police force in Kerala.

Visits of school students to police camps will also be arranged, the ADGP added.

Platoons from 12 armed police battalions in the state such as Special Armed Police (SAP), Kerala Armed Police (KAP), India Reserve Battalion (IRB) and Rapid Response and Rescue Force (RRRF) will reach schools and offer the salute normally reserved for ministers and high-ranking officials.

The platoons will be led by a commandant or assistant commandant. Already, the initiative has been launched at 20 schools in the state and all districts have been covered.

The latest initiative is in the backdrop of a report of the Excise Intelligence which said that 250 schools in Kerala were vulnerable to the activities of the drugs mafia.

Dog squad for excise

Meanwhile, the Excise Department has initiated measures to constitute a dog squad exclusively to detect drug trafficking. Initially, the Excise would utilize the services of one among the dog squads operated by the Kerala Police, for which the Excise Commissioner S Ananthakrishnan has already conducted preliminary discussions.

Campaign successful so far

At the same time, the ‘No to Drugs’ campaign launched by the government earlier in October has made good progress, said authorities. ‘Malayala Manorama’ also supports the campaign to spread awareness against the harmful effects of substance abuse.

“During this period, less than half the number of drug-related cases have been reported compared to the figures of the last four years. The campaign will be intensified further,” said M B Rajesh, the Excise and Local Administration Minister.

Free de-addiction treatment

Kerala’s Excise Department also offers free treatment at its de-addiction centres. The treatment includes stay and food for up to 25 days.

“Similar services offered by private de-addiction centres cost at least Rs 1 lakh,” said an Excise official.

The Excise Department’s de-addiction centres are attached to all district hospitals in the state, except in Palakkad.

Contact numbers

For de-addiction and counselling: 14405

To inform authorities about drug trafficking: 1553058 (toll-free)


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