Nearly 5,000 students and other people took part in the ‘Walkathon 2013’ held to create awareness on the harmful effects of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, here on Saturday.

The walkathon, jointly organised by the District Police and Manipal University, began from KMC Greens and culminated at MGM College. The walkathon coincided with the 150th anniversary of the Indian police.

The placards and banners in the walkathon carried messages on combating smoking, alcohol, and drug addiction. Ramdas M. Pai, Chancellor of Manipal University, flagged off the walkathon.

Earlier, addressing the gathering at the KMC Greens, M.B. Boralingaiah, Superintendent of Police, explained the measures being taken by the police to curb the menace of substance abuse in Manipal.

“Manipal University attracts students from across the country and abroad. So anything that happens here gets known all over the country. Any institution with youngsters is vulnerable to bad practices,” he said.

He spoke of the incidents of rash and negligent driving and also about the unnatural deaths that occurred along the beaches of Udupi district. He said the police would strictly enforce rules against binge drinking on streets.

“If students are found indulging in any such activity, their names will be given to the University authorities on a weekly basis. Depending on the nature of the offence, it would be communicated to their parents,” he said.

Students should inform the police if they come to know of any offenders.