The areas of Govandi, Shivaji Nagar, Deonar, Chembur, Nagpada and Bhendi Bazaar in Mumbai and Thane have recently been flagged by the Mumbai District and Suburban Legal Services Authority as drug-prone zones. On the Supreme Court’s directions, they are conducting awareness and de-addiction campaigns in schools and colleges in these areas and other parts of the city since last month.
The areas were identified on the basis of preliminary observations by doctors. “Doctors helped us identify these places, they usually get a lot of complaints of drug addiction from these areas,” said Sayaji Korhale, secretary of the legal services authority, Mumbai.
According to Korhale, school going children are falling victim to drug abuse because of the easy availability of substances. “Drugs are being sold openly around schools and colleges,” said Korhale.
The campaign held along with the narcotics cell of Mumbai police, is in the form of series of lectures by the legal services authorities and experts. The department will also tie-up with civic-run schools in these areas. “We are going to have workshops for parents and teachers so that they can identify if their children are falling victim to substance abuse,” said another official from the department.
Recently, a talk was organised for professors and non-teaching staff members at the University of Mumbai on August 19 to make them aware about the signs of drug addiction. “There is a dearth of guidelines among school and college authorities on handling drug use among adolescents,” said the official.
Several programmes have been conducted in the past to create awareness about the dangers of tobacco consumption but to no avail. “Civic school teachers still chew gutkha in front of the kids and thus influence them,” said the officer.