With the rapid increase in the number of drug consumers in the age bracket of 17 to 21 years, the Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) of the Mumbai crime branch has decided to organising awareness seminars in colleges about the use and abuse of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Also, ANC officials near college premises will constantly gather information about peddlers in the vicinity.
Joint commissioner of police (crime) Himanshu Roy said: “The prime focus of the ANC is to keep young consumers away from narcotics and clean the streets outside Mumbai’s colleges.”
VB Deshmukh, deputy commissioner of police for the ANC, said they would tie up with various colleges in the city. The police would also seek the help of non-governmental organisations to curb drug abuse among the youth. “We usually plant a decoy outside the colleges, who poses as a student and gathers information about the availability of narcotics. We have caught several peddlers in this manner. Recently, we caught five student consumers. Their parents were summoned, the students were counselled and let off with a warning,” said Deshmukh.
He said the most popular drugs amongst this age group are cannabis products, often called charas, bhang, or ganja — relatively cheaper than drugs like heroin and cocaine that are more popular with the affluent.
“Cannabis products are also easily available. Getting heroin or MDMA is extremely difficult. Also, if the cannabis products are spiked, their consumption don’t have immediate health effects, while consumption of adulterated heroin or MDMA can cost you your life.”
Vibhuti Patel, professor at SNDT College, said the increasing consumption of drugs can be attributed to the glamorisation of drugs in the film industry, and the music culture in the form of open-air gigs turning drugs into a party symbol. “External factors like peer pressure easily overpower a teenager’s conscience,” she said.
“Keeping the youth away from drugs is a major area of concern for us and we are taking all the requisite measures to curb the menace,” said Roy.