The need to spread awareness and implement meaningful policies addressing issues of drug and illicit liquor consumption was stressed by Minister for Excise K. Babu during an event organised by the Kerala State Youth Welfare Board.

The Kerala State Youth Welfare Board organised the event to flag off awareness initiatives in connection with International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking at Government Model Boys’ Higher Secondary School here.

“Kerala is ahead in so many fields but it is shameful and disappointing that the State still ranks high in liquor consumption. Moreover, lifestyle diseases are also on a rise depicting the high intake of such substances,” said Mr. Babu. He added that directing children away from such substances will improve family relations which, in turn, will lead to an overall betterment of the society. “The Excise Ministry is aware of the significance of the issue and hence has been most actively involved in promoting anti-drugs initiatives,” he said.

“It is easy to make speeches, but it is what solid action we take that counts,” said Mr. Babu, adding that joint runs and exhibition stalls had been set up by the department over the past year.

Numbers had fallen marginally over the past year, he said, with efforts like increasing the age limit to buy alcohol from 18 to 21 and putting a limit to the number of bars contributing to this. He said the government planned to coordinate with Kudumbasree and media houses for successful implementation of future schemes.

The students at Model School were treated to a magic show conducted by Sujesh Mithra. His show comprised an ‘Anti-Drugs Illusion’ and ‘The Great Anti-Drugs Escape’ and posters were put up outside the auditorium highlighting the dangers of smoking, liquor consumption, and drug abuse along with promotional posters of his show. A documentary titled ‘Lahari Pothi Marana Pothi’ was screened afterwards.

Senior Superintendent of the Youth Welfare Board Raja Sashi said similar events were being held in all districts as part of the board’s State-wide awareness programme.

He said anti-drug workshops and awareness initiatives would be organised by coordinating with schools and other institutions.