Concerned with the growing trend of drug abuse, especially among students, the police have started a campaign to make college campuses drug-free by Independence Day.
Each of the five units of the anti-narcotics cell (ANC) has adopted one college in their jurisdiction.
If the Drug-Free Campus Campaign is successful, the Mumbai police will replicate it across the city, where every police inspector will be asked to adopt a school or college.
The city has seen a spurt in consumption of drugs in the past year. According to statistics available with the ANC, 13,296 cases of drug consumptions were registered last year, compared to 1,271 in 2013.
“With the rise in drug use and Mephedrone [which is not classified under anti-narcotics laws] becoming popular among school and college students, it was time that the police took measures to create awareness that would have more productive results and create an impact. Hence, the police top brass came up with the idea of a result-oriented programme, by particularly focusing on individual colleges,” said an officer from the ANC.
An ANC officer said each of the five units had adopted a college from January 26, and are now conducting workshops, screening films on drugs abuse, having interactive question and answer sessions, street plays, sessions with faculties and parents, etc.
“So far the response from the colleges has been very good. We have not only got support from the principals and teachers, but also from students,” said Namdev Chavan, deputy commissioner of police, ANC.
ANC officials believe it is important to get parents involved in the process. “We will be sending letters to parents of students, requesting them to keep a watch on their kids and their behaviour,” said Suhas Gokhale, senior inspector, Azad Maidan ANC.
To have a better connect with students, one of the ANC units tried to spread the message through an inter-collegiate festival. “The theme of the festival was ‘say no to drugs’. There were eight different competitions dedicated to stopping drug abuse,” said Gokhale, adding, “We also want to make colleges tobacco-free by August 15.”
Students from a college in the eastern suburbs have become part of the campaign being carried out by the Ghatkopar ANC. They have formed over a dozen teams of four students each to visit houses in the area and create awareness about drug usage and also cleanliness.