More than 60 lakh Indian youngsters, predominantly in the age group of 15 to 35, are addicted to cocaine, according to a study conducted by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Globally, the US$500 billion drug trade was second only to illegal arms trade.

This information was provided in a Friends of Police Drugbuster booklet released in the city on Thursday, at an awareness programme conducted at the Government Arts College in which a host of top police officials spoke.

This is intended to create a cadre of students who will identify others addicted to drugs and counsel them. They would also liaise with the police officials.

According to the booklet, apart from physiological effects such as sleeplessness, loss of weight and inability to concentrate, drug abuse also results in adverse psychological effects such as continuous absence from school/ college and demanding money from parents.

Once they refuse to provide money, the addicts turn to begging from friends which escalates to petty thievery and finally culminates in criminal activities to fund their drug addiction.

Thus, an individual’s drug addiction spirals out of control affecting not only the family but also the society at large, according to the booklet.

To prevent youngsters from falling prey to drug abuse, the Friends of Police, Tamil Nadu Police, Narcotics Intelligence Bureau — Criminal Investigation Department (CID), and the Educational institutions have all come together to create awareness on this issue.

Among those who participated in the meeting include Prateep V. Philip, Additional Director General of Police (Crime), A.K. Viswanathan, City Police Commissioner, Pravesh Kumar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) and Y. John Nicholson, Deputy Inspector General of Police (Crime), Special Investigation Team besides the Government Arts College Principal V. Jothimani.

In his address, Mr. Nicholson said that committees to combat drug abuse have been formed in 796 schools and colleges. Further, the State Government had also allocated Rs. 25 lakh for this purpose.

Ganja cultivation had been eradicated in the State and efforts to interdict ganja coming other States had been stepped up.

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