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Kerala: Bar closure triggers spike in drug abuse

Figures from police and excise department confirmed that cases pertaining to Abkari Act and Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act are going up.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | Published: August 17, 2015 3:05 am
alcohol ban, bars, Kerala bars, Kerala Excise Ministry, K Babu, kerala Home Ministry, Ramesh Chennithala, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, NDPS Act, india news, news In 2008, Kerala police registered 508 drug cases. (Picture for representation only)

After 712 bars in Kerala were closed from April this year as part of the state government’s new liquor policy, use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances has gone up in the state, figures from the police and excise department revealed. The data further indicates that sale of illegal liquor and stimulating ayurvedic tonics known as arishtam has also increased.

Kerala Excise Minister K Babu said recently that the state is confronting a “major challenge” as liquor addicts are “exploring new ways”, leading to a rise in cases related to the use of ganja, drugs and other addictive substances.

“I won’t say the new liquor policy was counter- productive. But, liquor consumption has become a habit for a section of people and it is not easy to wean them away from that addiction without a sustained awareness drive,’’ he added.

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Recently, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala had stated that there was a three-fold increase in drug consumption in Kerala after the bars were closed. He had said use of psychotropic substances, chemicals like whitener, cough syrup and bicycle tube solutions as drugs was on the rise among youngsters.

Figures from police and excise department confirmed that cases pertaining to Abkari Act and Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act are going up.

In 2008, Kerala police registered 508 drug cases. The number remained below 1,000 for the next five years with 974 cases being reported in 2013. However, the scenario changed suddenly in 2014 when 418 bars in lower grades were closed. That year, 2,233 cases were registered under the NDPS Act.

For instance, in April-July 2014 , 261 NDPS cases were registered while in the same period in 2015, 399 cases were filed.
Over the past few months, the state has also witnessed the seizure of cocaine, heroin, hashish oil and brown sugar, although not in huge quantities.

Excise department sources said that after the closure of bars, inter-state drug rackets have set shop in Kerala. “People are still reluctant to alert the police about the operation of these rackets. There are instances in which informers and social workers have been physically targeted,” the sources added.

Officials also said the state’s failure to implement restrictions on sale of tranquilizer medicines was another reason for the rise. Hundreds of ampules of tranquilizer drugs have been seized. Kerala is also witnessing a spurt in the cases of illegal sale of spurious liquor, arrack and smuggling of Indian-made foreign liquor from Karnataka and Goa.

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  1. Appan Varma
    Dec 29, 2015 at 6:52 am
    Kerala liquor policy has made eighty percent of the homes into BARS ( only 80 % as Muslims - 26% in kerala do not drink openly ) leading even the male children to start drinking at the age of 14.This is tempting the woman of the house too. Liquor is bought from Government run shops and drunk in homes these days.A MOST UNFORTUNATE SITUATION
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    1. L
      Lele
      Aug 17, 2015 at 9:07 am
      This liquor policy has become an issue with communal overtones. Most of the bars closed are owned by Ezhava people, including the sndp chief Valapalli Natesan. why does the government interfere in personal life? Beef ban in maharashtra, liquor ban in kerala, "immoral" policing of couples in northieland, ban on books, etc? When did the government acquire these rights? Residual powers should never be given to governments.
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      1. S
        SP
        Dec 29, 2015 at 8:55 am
        Even drug problem in Punjab has roots to liquor ban many, many years back, as told to me by somebody.
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        1. I
          Indian
          Aug 17, 2015 at 6:07 am
          BARS earn CRORES in Kerala and so the next "sponsored News" will be ....... 'Bar closure trigger divorce in Kerala" ..... then ..... "Bar closure increase road accidents in Kerala" ........................ and then ................... "Bar closure trigger se-xual disfunction in Kerala" etc etc....... the only aim of BAR OWNERS is to get the BARS OPEN and the Attorney General of India is appearing for the BAR OWNERS in Supreme Court against Kerala Govt Bar Closure order - that shows the MONEY POWER of KERALA BAR OWNERS.
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          Adda