Police chalk out multi-pronged strategy to tackle drug menace

Excise dept. to give counselling to juveniles involved and their parents

Taking serious note of the alleged drug-induced assault involving six juveniles and the subsequent death of one of the accused, the Kochi City police have chalked out a multi-pronged strategy to deal with the crisis surrounding Glass Factory Colony in Kalamasserry.

District Police Chief (Kochi City) C.H. Nagaraju said the emphasis would be on an investigation-based intervention with awareness campaigns for youngsters and their parents.

“We are also looking to track down the supply chain, the money sources and the kingpins behind the drug supply. As part of a general prevention strategy, areas where vulnerable youngsters are known to idle away will increasingly come under the scanner. In fact, we have identified such spots across the city,” he said.

The Excise Department has also stepped in, with its sleuths visiting the deceased boy’s house and the site where the assault took place. “To begin with, we are planning to give counselling to the juveniles involved and their parents under our Vimukthi de-addiction mission as they seem to be facing social ostracism of sorts. We also plan to increase night patrolling along the area and to deploy our personnel in plainclothes,” said Anwar Sadat P., Circle Inspector, Ernakulam Excise circle.

The Ernakulam circle has registered four cases under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act this month. Mr. Sadat said youngsters who were into drugs were also being pushed into drug peddling. The drug carriers among migrant workers also posed a problem, he said.

Psychiatrist S.D. Singh said drug-induced behavioural changes brought about mood disorders, which in turn triggered depression, stoking suicidal tendencies. “Incidents like these evoke highly emotional response from the mob and the media. A life could have been saved had the incident been handled in a positive and supportive way. It is high time that mental health check was made a vital part of the mandatory medical examination of accused following the registration of a police case,” said Dr. Singh, who is also a specialist in de-addiction.

Ajithkumar J. Varma, criminologist and former chief investigator with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, London, said the assault and the resultant incidents were manifestations of the dejection of a marginalised community. “These youngsters are abreast of the fast progressing society around them, thanks to social media and mobile applications, but are antagonised about the absence of a level playing field, denying them the fruits of that progress,” he said.

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