Calcutta police commissioner Vineet Goyal emphasised the need to increase awareness among students and other young people about drug abuse and urged teachers to play an active role in identifying victims and potential victims of drug abuse.
Goyal issued a message through the social media wing of Calcutta police on the occasion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on Monday.
“We urge you all to play an active role in arresting the spread of this dreadful menace and also supporting the youth who easily fall prey to this particular vice... The teachers need to play a very important role in schools and spread awareness amongst the students and identify victims and potential victims. In fact, we are also running a string of awareness campaigns in schools to sensitise teachers and students and identify victims and potential victims,” the message reads.
Several police officers said students and other young people are most likely to fall prey to drug abuse and addiction. Most of the cases go unreported.
“It is important to identify children who show early signs of addiction or drug abuse. Timely counselling and rehabilitation, if needed, can tackle this menace,” said an officer in the detective department of Calcutta police.
The city police have initiated a project named Chetana to fight the drug menace. As part of the project, the police organise interactive sessions involving students, counsellors and doctors.
A joint commissioner in Calcutta police said activities under Chetana will run throughout the year.
“Prevention is better than cure. We want students to interact with former drug addicts so that they get an idea about the hardships faced by an addict. In those sessions the students will also get to hear inspiring stories of how the addicts have overcome their addiction and returned to the mainstream,” the officer said.
A helpline, 1090, has been earmarked for distress calls related to drug abuse, the officer said.
The police said they are planning to organise events under Chetana in all nine police divisions and in schools.
Like the city police, the Bengal police’s CID also organised an awareness programme on Monday with more than 100 schoolchildren and college students.
R. Rajasekaran, additional director general and inspector general of the CID, told Metro the event was aimed at raising awareness about the threats posed by drugs and other narcotic substances and the need to not discriminate against drug users and former addicts.
“We have noticed that people harbour fears about drug users and even former addicts and are often uncomfortable around them. This fear needs to go as we, as members of civil society, can help them get back into the mainstream,” Rajsekharan said.