Year-long campaign against alcohol and drug abuse planned
Ernakulam is one of the most liquor-addicted districts
Ernakulam, which has been identified as one of the most liquor-addicted districts in the country, has 2,300 hotspots of alcohol and drug abuse, as per a survey conducted by the Social Justice Department in association with Kudumbashree.
The findings of the survey were discussed at a meeting here recently to mark the end of the month-long intense awareness campaign under the Union government’s Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyan to salvage the district’s reputation.
“We are planning to actively intervene in these hotspots in coordination with excise, police, and health departments, Kudumbashree, and local bodies in a year-long campaign starting from August 15. We are hopeful that it will help curtail the availability of alcohol and drugs in these hotspots and strip the district of its dubious distinction,” said Subair K.K., District Social Justice Officer.
A survey held by the Union Ministry of Social Justice in 2019 had found Ernakulam to be among the 272 districts in the country afflicted with substance abuse. Every 29 out of the 100 men in the district was found to be using alcohol, which was higher than the national average of 27 out of 100.
While alcohol continues to pose the problem in a majority of the hotspots, drugs also figure in significant proportions within the city limits. Among the hotspots within the city are the area near the Kaloor bus stand and beneath the North overbridge where youngsters converge and create a ruckus overnight, leaving behind liquor bottles and even used syringes as tell-tale signs of substance abuse.
Committees have been formed at the corporation, municipal and block levels to plan and implement the project. With the pandemic putting up a stumbling block, interventions will be largely restricted to online till physical activities could be probably launched by October by which time vaccination for children is expected to be rolled out.
“Rather than restricting to sporadic awareness sessions, we are planning to introduce a full-fledged syllabus along the lines of the one recommended by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. At least four sessions will be held a year separately for high school and higher secondary students and youngsters who do not fall in either of these categories,” said Mr. Subair.