This New Year's Eve, cops bank on teens to bust drug parties

The Navi Mumbai police has roped in student volunteers to attend parties and tip them off about drug use, as plainclothes policemen are also recognised by revellers; cops say the students themselves offered to help, following seminars on the dangers of using narcotics

College students will serve as the Navi Mumbai police’s eyes and ears as they gear up to crack down on rampant drug use on New Year’s Eve. “I have been visiting various colleges in Navi Mumbai and spreading awareness about the dangers of using drugs like crystal meth and meow meow.

After that, a few students approached me and expressed their willingness to be part of our crackdown on New Year’s Eve,” said Senior Inspector Maya More of APMC police station, Vashi. As a member of the Anti-Narcotics Cell of the Mumbai police, she had played an important role in busting the Juhu rave party in 2007.

Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria said pub and hotel owners have been informed that their licences will be cancelled if drug use is detected on their premises. Representation pics/Thinkstock
Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria said pub and hotel owners have been informed that their licences will be cancelled if drug use is detected on their premises. Representation pics/Thinkstock

“I have experienced that even policemen in plain clothes are identified when they try to mingle with revellers and, hence, this time we have decided to take the help of student volunteers who will attend such parties and tip us off about any drugs being supplied,” she said.

“We have only kept male students in the group, which will be divided further area-wise and each group will have a policeman in civil dress to coordinate. We have a few pubs in and around Vashi, Nerul and CBD Belapur which we will be keeping an eye on as part of our drive against drugs,” added More.

‘Make meow meow illegal’
Meanwhile, following mid-day reports on the widespread use and dangers of mephedrone aka meow meow (‘Dangerous new drug meow meow haunts Mumbai youth’, April 14 and ‘As sales spike destroys Mumbai’s youth, meow meow to be banned soon’, December 19) a PIL has been filed in the Bombay High Court seeking that the drug’s manufacture and sale be made illegal.

Filed by a psychiatrist, Dr Yusuf Merchant of Drug Abuse Information, Rehabilitation Centre (DAIRRC), the PIL seeks to bring the drug which is easily accessible to school and college students and can even be delivered at home for as low as Rs 150 per gram under the ambit of the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act, 1958.

Speaking to mid-day, advocate Avesh Kayser, who is representing Dr Merchant, said, “We initially thought of taking up the matter before the vacation bench of the Bombay High Court, but due to certain legal technicalities in the case, it will come up in due course after the vacation.”

Asked why he had filed the PIL, Dr Merchant said, “Mephedrone or meow meow was introduced in Mumbai not more than a year-and-a-half ago as a party drug, and my first mephedrone-addicted patient came in around 13 months ago.

Meow meow is consumed by young boys and girls, including high-school and junior college students, who attend parties regularly. The first users of meow meow were those who had been on cocaine or crystal meth, as mephedrone was promoted as cheaper version of crystal meth.”

“A year ago, meth was being sold at R1,800 per gram while meow meow was introduced at Rs 1,500, which fell to Rs 700 per gram and is now between Rs 150 and Rs 500 a gram. Moreover, unlike other drugs, which are banned under the NDPS Act, mephedrone is legal and can even be ordered online, which is a serious concern for me,” he added.

Top cops say

Rakesh Maria, Mumbai Police Commissioner: We have already communicated to the management of pubs, hotels, and agencies supplying bouncers to these places that their licences will be cancelled if any untoward incident or the use of banned substances, including drugs, takes place on their premises.

The police, including the Anti-Narcotics Cell, will be vigilant and will conduct surprise visits. I appeal to college students and youth to inform us about places where rave parties are being organised or drugs are being supplied or consumed. The information can be shared by dialling 100 (police control room) and the identity of the informant will be kept confidential.

K L Prasad, Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner: College students and even housing society residents have been requested to play a proactive role in helping police curb the use of drugs. Usually, such parties are attended by youth and even if we send plainclothes police, they have certain limitations like age, body language, approach, and even the dancing style, which will reveal their identity.

Hence, we have decided to take the help of college students and youngsters. We have access to pubs and other joints, but may not have direct access to housing societies and row houses, where private parties are usually organised.

The residents and secretaries of societies are requested to keep the police informed of any such parties, and our team will keep vigil before conducting a raid. Senior PI Maya More has been assigned the task of tackling narcotics cases.

Senior Police Inspector Maya More said, “I have already given specific training to college students, who have also been given hidden cameras, to look for drug addicts and peddlers. They have also been given the necessary protection in the form of plainclothes policemen who will be shadowing them during the party.”

A student who will be helping the police report drug use said, “I have been born and brought up in Navi Mumbai, and I have been witnessing some college students openly taking drugs. I want to do something to help the cops stop this menace and, hence, I have volunteered.”

Rs 150
The cost of one gram of meow meow

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