KOZHIKODE: The number of minors landing at de-addiction centres for drug abuse is on the rise in the state. For once, the reason is not usual suspects - ganja and heroin. Manufactured psychotropic drugs, including tablets and injections, are driving them to the rehabilitation centres.
Latest data points out that the quantity of manufactured psychotropic drugs circulated in Kerala is twice more than ganja, hashish and heroin. They are also pushing minors to criminal activities as a way to earn money to buy drugs.
In Kozhikode, the number of minors landing at de-addiction centres has increased in the last two years. At least 140 students below the age of 18 have undergone treatment for drug abuse in 2016 - 100 per cent increase compared to 2015.
“Cartels supply drugs free initially and once the minors become addicts, they push the rates. The addicts will be left with no option but to commit crimes to raise money for drugs,” said Kozhikode City Police Commissioner J Jayanath.
Narcotics Control Bureau ( NCB) Superintendent Venugopal G Kurup said drug cartels have become adept at distributing psychotropic drugs to a mass market in Kerala at minimal risk and cost.
Kerala Police data showed that the number of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) touched an all time high with 4838 cases (up to October 2016) while it was 4103 in 2015 and 2239 in 2014.
In most cases, minor addicts are identified and referred to de-addiction centres by School Jagratha Samithis and police. “Many teens we received here were working as agents of drug distribution networks.
In 2016 alone, we have housed 25 minors,” said officers of the Shanthi Integrated Rehabilitation Centre for Addicts. As per the data prepared by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the seized quantity of manufactured drugs in 2013 was 12 kg. It rose to 2042.05 kg in 2014 and 1104.68 kg in 2015.
Similarly, the seized quantity of tablets used as psychotropic drugs increased from 781 kg in 2013 to 1903 kg in 2014 and 1406 kg in 2015.
Criminal groups use several methods to market the drugs while mainly targeting students. “It’s impossible to identify a person who is stoned by psychotropic drug. So, students get easily attracted to it. Pharmacists should stop selling such drugs to children even if they are coming with prescriptions. If it’s an emergency situation, they need to collect whereabouts of the student,” said Kurup.
Psychologist P N Suresh Kumar said ‘drugs affect the cognitive and analytical ability of a person. ‘‘They affect prefrontal area of the brain leading to invasive, aggressive and violent behaviour. Addicts usually resort to pain-inflicting behaviour either on themselves or others because they become impatient and lose ability to postpone a decision,” he said.