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March 24, 2021 Wednesday 01:56:14 PM IST

No to Drug Abuse in Educational Institutions

After the landmark judgement of Supreme Court in December 2016  (NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan led by Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi Vs Union Government) directing the Union Government to curb the menace of drug and alcohol abuse among children and formulate a national plan to tackle it, policy makers haven't  yet come to grips with the situation across India.

In a recent judgment, a Division Bench of the High Court of Kerala issued comprehensive directions to control drug abuse among youth and students in educational institutions.  About 400 educational institutions have been affected by drug abuse.  The unacceptably high drug usage in the State is a significant driver of economic underperformance, crime, risk to children and health inequalities.

The Court Directive

1. State Government is directed to adopt a method of establishing Campus Police Units, sine the Law Enforcement agencies are not conducting regular checking inside the educational institutions. Measures shall also be taken to make it easier for the police and excise personnel to enforce NDPS Act, 1985, in the educational institutions.

2.  State Government should convene a meeting of all the key officials from the Department of Home Affairs, Excise, Health, Law, Education, and representative of State Mental Health Authority, Department of Social Justice, and chalk out programmes, to ensure reduction in the incidence of substance abuse among teenagers and youth and for the implementations of the suggestions made above.

3. The Universities/Colleges/School authorities shall be provided with guidelines as a charter of duties and responsibilities, to make the campuses of the educational institutions, drug free.

4.Police should seek the services of Student Police Cadets, NCC, NSS, and other similar organization to tide over the situation that the students are unaware of the legal repercussions of the usage and trafficking of drugs, and the health and career hazards caused due to the usage of drugs.

5.Police shall initiate steps to conduct anti-drug programmes , propagate health awareness, and use the assistance of social media.

6. Counselling and rehabilitation mechanisms should be established by Police, to save the  students who are already using drug and addicts, and for that purpose, co-operation of University authorities, affected students and their parents be elicited.

Measures to Curb Drug Abuse

a)  Local police shall pay special attention to areas surrounding schools and colleges in their efforts to tackle drug peddlers. b) Schools and colleges should be encouraged to look out for peddlers in their vicinity and report them to police and to conduct surveys (possibly anonymous) to assess the levels of drug addiction among their students. If addicted students can be identified, inform their parents or wards to find medical help to cure their addiction. c) The Central and State Education authorities to include a mandatory and comprehensive chapter on drug abuse and illicit trafficking and its socio-economic costs to self, society, and the country in the syllabus for 10+1 and 10+2 students, d ) Schools and Colleges be encouraged to constitute the Anti-Drug Club to promote a drug free life among its members and  also in the institutions.

P S Antony

P.S ANTONY ,District Judge (Retd.) & Senior Faculty Bharata  Mata School of Legal Studies , Aluva

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