Bottles of cough syrups stocked at a pharmaceutical shop in Hazaribagh on Sunday. Picture by Vishvendu Jaipuriar
Hazaribagh deputy commissioner Manish Ranjan on Sunday instructed medicine retailers not to sell cough syrups to customers without prescription, in an attempt to stop substance abuse among youths of the district.
Shopkeepers were also asked to maintain a log of sale of cough syrups and to hand over the information every month to civil surgeon A.D.N. Prasad. Ranjan also wanted cough syrups to be sold to customers below 35-years of age only after verifying their identity proofs.
Sources said the deputy commissioner’s diktat follows a number of instances when students were caught red-handed consuming cough syrups or whiteners at some secluded spots in Hazaribagh town. Those apprehended belonged to both students of private and government schools.
Ranjan instructed officials of Hazaribagh municipal board to find out from rag-pickers where exactly they collected the maximum number of empty cough syrup bottles and whiteners from. He said this information would help them take up the drive against substance abuse.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Ranjan said he had asked drug inspector B.L. Das to ensure that retail medicine outlets of the district maintained registers regarding sale of cough syrups.
He said the shopkeepers will have to write down the name of the patient in that register by verifying the prescription and also the address with name of the doctor. He said every month, this record will have to be submitted at the office of Prasad without fail, and it will then be sent to the deputy commissioner’s office. “I want no sale of cough syrups to teenagers,” he added.
To stop the use of whitener by students, Ranjan has asked all stationary shops to keep a record of sale of whitener to private and government offices and to submit it to the sales tax office every month.
However, he instructed them to keep a register and immediately record the name of any teenager who comes demanding whitener. “It will help us to inform the parents,” the deputy commissioner warned.
Ranjan said many teenagers had been picked up from places close to cinema halls when found consuming syrups and whiteners. He urged residents to remain alert and to inform the nearest police post if they spotted any such case. He even asked NGOs to run a campaign in the district to make people aware about the dangers of consuming syrups and whiteners.
School principals have been asked to keep an eye on students.