If You Want To Get Down-‘Cocaine’! ‘Smart City’ becomes Haven for ‘Smart Addicts’?

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If You Want To Get Down-‘Cocaine’! ‘Smart City’ becomes Haven for ‘Smart Addicts’?

“If you want to hang out, you’ve gotta take her out, cocaine; If you want to get down, get down on the ground, cocaine; She don’t lie, she don’t lie, she don’t lie-“Cocaine!”; If you got that lose, you want to kick them blues, “cocaine!”; When your day is done, and you want to ride on cocaine; She don’t lie, she don’t lie, she don’t lie- “Cocaine!”; If your day is gone, and you want to ride on, “cocaine”; Don’t forget this fact, you can’t get it back, “cocaine”; She don’t lie, she don’t lie, she don’t lie- “Cocaine”- by Singer Eric Clapton; “I’m gonna smoke’a de ganja until I go blind; You know I smoke’a de ganja all a de time; Smoke’a de ganja when I’m with friends; We gonna smoke’a de ganja until the very end. Smoke’a de ganja every day;-all night long Mista…Whoo-oo Ganja ganja, Whoo-oo Ganja gun, Whoo-oo Ganja ganja, “- by Reggae singer Bob Marley.

Mangaluru: While the above two songs are popular among the City youth, simultaneously these two songs are also getting the City youth, specially the medical and engineering students (because they have the more money than other students) addicted to drugs/ganja – and with all the reports that are making headlines these days about drug bust, Ganja bust, students being caught smoking weed etc- it clearly shows that “Namma Kudla” the Education Hub is also becoming a Haven for drugs/ganja. Yes, Mangaluru and DK has been in the news very much these days of drug trafficking and also teens/young adults/women getting addicted to alcohol and substance abuse, and some resulting in committing suicides due to depression or deaths due to over dose.

It is learnt that teenagers, women are getting hooked to alcohol and substance abuse in Mangaluru and Manipal/Udupi-the education hubs of Dakshina Kannada, and doctors attribute it to easy availability of dope. It is learnt that the city has recorded a marked increase in incidents of ganja peddling, bringing to fore a disturbing trend that indicates a spike in the youth falling prey to the drug. Police say every time they crack down on ganja peddlers new gangs surface which smuggle the contraband primarily from neighbouring states, especially Goa. The data suggested that abuse of ganja has been on the rise in city particularly among the youths. Ganja peddlers target college students as buyers as well as their agents also.

While most of the peddlers are habitual offenders with criminal records, some of them are first time offenders who were drawn into the illegal trade as customers. “First they approach the gangs to buy ganja for their own use. The gangs lure them with promise of good money and make them sell ganja gradually. This happens with college students who after a point of time start selling ganja to fellow students,” said a police officer. Although police have also tightened their vigil in the wake of detection of ganja cultivation in the city outskirts, but many say that even the some of the cops also play a vital role by associating with the peddlers.

As per a lady member of Link De-addiction and Counselling Centre who had said, “Youth aged between 16 and 18 were getting addicted to drugs which is a matter of concern and de-addiction is extremely rigid”. According to Hilda Rayappan from Prajna Counselling Centre, they have so far treated over 20,000 persons in the last 25 years at their three de-addiction centres in city. “This has been really effective; however it is difficult in running these three centres as there are no regular grants from the State government”, as expressed by her. .

It was reported that increasing number of teenagers/young adults in Mangaluru are getting hooked to drugs/alcohol, and doctors are worried about the situation. There is no problem with availability of ganja in rural areas, and possibly as it is a matter of demand and supply. It is not as if drugs are being sold brazenly in broad daylight. Even if the police raid one shop and close it down for illegal sale of smoke stuff, those who want it will find some other way to get it. Ganja is inexpensive and can be bought for Rs 100 plus a gram as against more expensive drugs like brown sugar, costing nearly Rs 1500-Rs 4000 a gram. Social changes make it difficult to deal with such issues. Earlier, children feared parents, teachers and elders-nowadays parents work and there is spare money that a child has access to. In dealing and to curb with substance abuse, society has to play a big role-because it is very hard for the police to control the drug menace on its own.

Yes, it’s sad to note that the substance abuse among teenagers/young adults is growing in Mangaluru, with smoking, trying out ganja…injecting or inhaling drugs etc etc-most of these are available illegally at shops selling cigarettes, paan shops, hostels or through agents. Users form a well-knit network and no names are mentioned as they are scared of implications. The other problem is that the parents are unaware that their children are addicted to substance abuse as they use a lot of masking behaviour. Also that they will not be home on time or they go out of town on trips with friends.

With most of the students in various professional colleges like medical, engineering, dental and other post-graduate studies are from other towns and states, they are free without parents guidance or care. Also with so many call centers popping up in the city, and since many of them operate business at night, there is ample opportunity for all these call center employees, who are quite young, to skip work and party at pubs, beaches or at private places. Only when they get into trouble or get totally sick, their parents will be in shock and denial. Some of them are very poor and very naive.

According to the police, the city’s status as a drug consumption centre is high because of the easy availability of ganja. “However, there is a less demand for drugs like cocaine, heroin and opium as they are costly and are made available only in case of specific demand. Ganja is commonly used by slum dwellers, smokers, drug addicts and youngsters because of their easy availability. The youth are mostly attracted to ganja and charas. Youth smoke ganja mixed in cigarettes. Women consume less as compared to men. Most students engage in ganja and cocaine.”

Home minister G Parameshwara couple of months ago had courted controversy by saying the menace of illegal and contraband drugs in Karnataka is primarily due to African nationals who have come to the state and begun peddling. That may be true, or may not be true- even though a few African nationals have been caught. But if you look at the people who get caught for drug/ganja dealing are locals/Indians. Parameshwara has also said that a large number of cases have been identified in educational hubs. Quoting official figures, Parameshwara said the maximum number of drug-related cases have been registered in Mangaluru (239-the numbers might have gone up now) and Bengaluru (128).

And on the orders of the Minister, police force in the state, including Mangaluru are going to embark on a special drive to remove the deep rooted menace in the state. DCPs in each jurisdiction have been asked to personally take charge of going to educational institutions and talking to students in these colleges and schools. With regard to online sales of illegal drugs to students, the cyber crime division of the police force is tackling the issue. And the good news is that the Anti-Rowdy Police Squad; Economic offense and Narcotic Drugs Police; and CCB are doing a good job in cracking down on drug/ganja related acts. All these raid should have been done long ago-but as they say “Better Late Than Never”- let’s compliment our law enforcement personnel for catching all these drug/ganja peddlers who are spoiling the city youth.

Every month or so, many ganja dealers are caught in the city, and they operate their business close to educational institutions. So its clear that Ganja is been smuggled into this educational town, and not much has been done by the law enforcement officials. Many say that if police themselves are corrupt and are associated with these ganja peddlers, how can this problem be solved- a big question mark? Yes, citizens and members of various community organizations can play an important role in stopping alcohol and substance abuse among teenagers and young adults-if you see anyone dealing with drugs/shops selling illegal smoking items or if you see someone whom you are sure is doing drugs, immediately inform the police or the concerned authorities.

Anyone with information pertaining to drug trafficking or drug dealers immediately notify the law enforcement personal by dialing 100 or 9480802305, so that the concerned authorities can take quick action and grab the drug mafias. We the citizens can join hands along with the law enforcement authorities in controlling the drug menace in the city, and thereby save some innocent lives from this deadly “disease”? Or if you know anyone is narcotics addicted you can call a member of Narcotics Anonymous in Mangaluru at 7506662028

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