Worried that the city is rapidly becoming a drug abuse hub, the police have started roping in more and more college students to help them curb the menace.
After busting the rave party at Bombay 72 Degree East pub in Juhu last year where 231 students were arrested, the police have started concentrating on educating college students about the menace of drug peddling and asking them to help the police eradicate drug abuse.
“At first we used to concentrate only on the peddlers and tried to curb the drugs supply. But now, we are also concentrating to cut back the demand,” said an officer from the Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) of the Mumbai police, requesting anonymity.
Inspector Mrityunjay Hiremath of the ANC’s Bandra unit said drug peddling and abuse had increased over the past five years and the police are taking drastic steps to curb it. “Our priority is to concentrate on drug abuse among college students,” said Hiremath. “Our aim is to arrest the drug peddlers and cut out the supply link to youngsters. Arresting students is not our intention.”
Last year, the police arrested 152 peddlers, a significant rise from the 2005 figure, when 93 peddlers were held.
The police have prepared special units to deal with the menace and keep vigil on colleges, pubs and discotheques, especially between Bandra and Andheri, realising that peddlers frequent colleges in these areas.
“Two undercover officers from the ANC make regular rounds to such places. We have also roped in college students to be our eyes and ears at their hangouts,” Hiremath said.
The police have, over the past year, conducted surprise raids and arrested several peddlers. “Small fish lead us to the big ones,” said Hiremath. “By arresting small-time peddlers from colleges and rave parties, we have got links to the bigger suppliers of party and synthetic drugs.”