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Building Awareness more Potent than Law to Snuff out Addiction: Minister

In Kerala
January 30, 2020


Noting that implementing a law to ban addiction is not the policy of the State Government, Labour and Excise Minister T P Ramakrishnan stressed that building grassroot level awareness targeting families and the public at large is the effective way to snuff out drug menace.

“The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) enacted by the Centre is ineffective as far as the State is concerned. So, we had requested the Union Government for an amendment to the law but it remained unheeded,” said Ramakrishnan while inaugurating the state-level anti-drug workshop at the Government Guest House here on Wednesday.

The workshop was conducted by Kerala’s drug and addiction-free mission ‘Vimukthi’, launched by the State Excise Department, as part of the ongoing 90-day anti-drug awareness drive on the theme “Tomorrow’s Kerala Addiction-Free Kerala.”

“Library Councils have a close connect with common people and they have to be used for achieving Vimukthi’s goals. The proposed anti-drug clubs under the public libraries across the State should work responsibly to contain the grave situation and take forward the initiative,” the Minister said, adding that politics should not be a hindrance while involving and intervening with people in the anti-drug campaigns.

“There are deaddiction centres in all the 14 districts and each centre has 10 beds. The government has decided to increase the number of beds in these centres. Counselling centres are functioning in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode. A Rs 100-crore model de-addiction centre would be opened at Kinalur in Kozhikode, with the aid of Central Government. Treatment facilities, a job skill development project and rehabilitation will be implemented at the Centre,” Ramakrishnan informed.

Chavara K.S. Pillai, Vice President, State Library Council, presided over the function. Dr K.V. Kunhikrishnan, President, State Library Council; P. Appukuttan, Secretary, State Library Council; and P.K. Rajamohan, Secretary, District Library Council, were present.

Dr Prasanth. C.V, RMO, Palliative Medicine, Regional Cancer Centre, led a class on “Addiction and Health Problems” at the workshop. Madhujan. L.R, Director, Karunasai, addressed a session on “Addiction and Mind” while Harikrishna Pillai, Manager, Vimukthi, talked on “Addiction and Legalities”.

The trainers at the workshop were given orientation for presenting various topics in the anti-drug clubs of the 6,700 libraries across the State and Panchayat-level drug-free evening meetings. An anti-drug pledge will be taken in all libraries after lighting the lamp on January 30, coinciding with the Martyr’s Day.

Around 100 trainers and resource persons from the district participated in the workshop.

Vimukthi seeks to mobilise public support for the anti-drug and anti-alcoholism drive by forging a partnership with anti-drug clubs at schools and colleges, students police cadet corps, state library council, voluntary outfits, and student, youth and women organisations.