Karnataka will launch special drive to curb narcotics menace

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  • Home Minister G Parameshwara said that a special drive would be launched throughout the state to check the narcotics menace.
  • Responding to a calling attention notice tabled by Ramachandra Gowda (BJP) in the Legislative Council, Parameshwara said that Karnataka is no match to Punjab, which stood first in the country in the number of drug abuse cases recorded.
  • While Karnataka had registered 0.6% of drug abuse cases in the country, Punjab had registered 36% of such cases.
  • However, the statistics furnished by the minister shows an upward trend in the cases recorded in Karnataka.
  • In 2014, while 42 cases were registered, 83 people were arrested; in 2015 as many as 69 cases were registered and 141 people were arrested. This year, till October, 234 persons were arrested in 93 cases.
  •  Parameshwara said that special cells had been created in Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Bengaluru, Mangaluru and Belagavi to check the sale of narcotics.
  • The cell had been set up to nab drug peddlers and pharma companies manufacturing narcotics. As many as 45 special police stations had been assigned to check drug trafficking.
  • The minister said that it had come to light that small pharma units have been set up on the outskirts of Bengaluru, where chemical-based drugs were being manufactured, which were being sold to users in other states and also exported.
  • It had also come to fore that chemical-based drugs were sold to youths and schoolchildren in larger numbers, as opposed to plant-based narcotics.
  • V S Ugrappa (Congress) said that drug abuse was highly prevalent in Bengaluru, with localities such as HSR Layout having become havens for drug users. He said that the police were unable to check the menace despite regular patrolling.
  • Stating that as many as 1,500 African students from Nigeria and Tanzania were overstaying in the state, Parameshwara said that the government is ensuring that they were all being deported.

Drug Abuse in Bangalore

  • The growing number of drug rackets busted by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Bengaluru, in the last two years is a clear indication of rampant drug abuse in the IT city. In 2014, NCB Bengaluru, busted eight drug rackets.
  • The number went up to 17 in 2015, as per the data available with the agency. The concern was discussed in a meeting at NCB’s head office in Delhi too, a senior official looking after operations told Youth Ki Awaaz.
  • According to NCB officials, youngsters are more vulnerable to drug addiction. Drug peddlers know this and prey mostly on them.
  • For the record, Bengaluru with a huge floating population, is infamous as the ‘drug capital’ of south India.
  •  On the basis of raids conducted by the NCB, the drug most popular among Bengaluru’s youth is LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide also known as acid), followed by hashish, ecstasy pills,ganja, heroin, cocaine and MDMA, a pure form of ecstasy that goes by the street name ‘molly’.

Social Media & Social Stigma

  • To counter the drug menace, NCB, Bengaluru decided to take its fight public back in June 2014 and launched a Facebook page for the same. The move was intended to reach out to the tech-savvy young population of the city and create awareness on drug abuse.
  • On the feedback received on Facebook, Sinha claims, “A lot of people have shared important information about drug rackets, traffickers and users over phone after following us on our Facebook page.
  • There is, however, a downside to creating awareness in the virtual world. Experts working for rehabilitation of addicts say online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter could prove counter-productive.
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