On the occasion of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on Wednesday, school students in the city chalked out an action plan for the year ahead to fight the drug menace.

Excise Minister K. Babu inaugurated the State-level observance of the day organised jointly by the departments of excise and education at St. Mary’s Higher Secondary School, Pattom. Mr. Babu said anti-liquor clubs on the models of schools would be started in colleges.

Experts conducted awareness classes and interactive sessions for the children. Various State-level awards for the best anti-liquor clubs and best volunteers were presented at the function.

Students of Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Cotton Hill, organised a poster exhibition on the theme of drug abuse. Students in the junior division staged a skit on the dangers of drugs while senior students of the school took out an awareness rally.

The students launched an anti-liquor club at the school earlier this year, which would conduct awareness programmes regularly. Going one step further, they would soon be taking the role of sleuths to check on vendors near their school who might be selling pan masala and other items to the children.

“We have planned to send the children to shops in and around our school premises, posing as students who want to buy pan masala. We have a number of schools in this area and any such illegal activities would be first sighted by the students. They can pass on the information to the teachers. The Excise Department has extended their support,” said K.C. Sreeja, NSS co-ordinator at the school.

At St. Joseph’s Higher Secondary School, Vanchiyoor, awareness classes were conducted for the students.

Awareness classes were conducted at the Saraswathi Vidyalaya, Vattiyoorkavu, under the aegis of the Department of Mental Health.

Speaking at a programme organise by the Regional Cancer Centre here on the occasion, Governor Nikhil Kumar said toppers in the Indian civil service examinations should be made the brand ambassadors of initiatives for fighting the drug menace so that the younger generation was motivated to follow them. The District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) conducted essay competitions at 29 schools to mark the day. Over 17,000 students from classes VIII to XII participated in the competitions, the winners of which will be declared in July. Students were asked to focus on the importance of social awareness in bringing down drug abuse and alcohol consumption. Awareness classes were also held in these schools, said DMHP nodal officer P.S. Kiran.