THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state has been witnessing a spurt in the use of drugs, mainly ampoules of restricted drugs, in the wake of the liquor curbs as well as tight enforcement against drunken driving. It is feared that the situation may aggravate further with the closure of bars and reduction in liquor supply.
According to police and excise sources, drug abuse has increased after the closure of 418 bars in April. They are easy to consume, give prolonged kick and the police cannot easily detect them.
Till this May, the excise and police registered 939 cases under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (592 by police and 347 by excise). Of this, over 500 cases were initiated during April-May and the majority pertained to restricted drugs. Enforcement officials admit that this is only the tip of the iceberg as it is very difficult to crack the well-established racket with the present infrastructure of the enforcement agencies.
“A probe into a drug case in Kochi last year had found that a Sulthan Bathery native was operating the racket from within a prison using a mobile phone,” says an excise inspector.
While ampoules of restricted drugs like pethidine and morphine are routed to the state mainly from neighbouring Karnataka, migrant labourers are considered to be the major carriers of ganja to the state these days.
One major attraction of youths towards these drugs is the police helplessness in booking those who consume them. “We can easily book anyone driving under the influence of alcohol, whereas anyone driving under the influence drugs or ganja could be booked only if any banned substances are also recovered from them,” a traffic official in Kochi said.