Mumbai police play saviour to 135 drug addicts

Jan 02, 2018, 17:04 IST | Vijay Kumar Yadav

Officers of the Anti-Narcotics Cell manage the record figure for helping rehabilitate city youth in 2017

Representational Pic

In just one year, the Mumbai crime branch's Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) has achieved a feat that has stunned many in the police department. The ANC, which is otherwise tasked with busting narcotics syndicates, has gone beyond its line of duty to save 135 youths from drug abuse. Last year, the five units of the ANC - Azad Maidan, Worli, Bandra, Ghatkopar and Kandivli - rehabilitated 135 youth by enlisting them in rehabilitation programmes.

These youth, identified by th­eir parents and friends, and were sent to rehab centres at GT, KEM, Sion, JJ and Nair hospitals. "The numbers have left many within the police department shocked, as last year, the ANC had barely managed to hit double figures," a source said.

Combined effort
"The awareness regarding drug abuse has definitely increased among city parents. In 2017, more parents approached us for help," said Shivdeep Lande, deputy commissioner of police, ANC. "With sustained efforts, which includes proactive role of parents, school, colleges and police, we can bring down the number of drug abuse cases." An ANC inspector said that the effort of the youths, undergoing rehab, must not be ignor­ed. "Quitting drugs is not easy. Battling that phase and coming out of clean is a heroic achievement in itself," the official said.

Top cop unhappy with force
Sources said Police Commissioner Datta Padsalgikar is unhappy with the work at the police station level in curbing the drug menace. "Cops can effectively gather local intelligence in their small jurisdiction and crack the whip on drug groups. Unlike ANC, which is bound by the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, local police have multiple powers to neutralise such anti-social elements with local and specialised laws," said an ANC officer.

Sources said that the commissioner has given instructions to all police stations to act promptly if local citizens approach them with complaints of drug menace in the area. Last month, mid-day had reported how Mahim residents had written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, as well as some of the city's top cops, complaining about drug addicts infesting Dargah Street. The Mumbai Police took immediate action and arrested nearly 40 troublemakers during a series of raids.

How to identify a young addict?

Change in physical appearance and mood fluctuation: A teen doing drugs tends to pay less importance towards his looks, clothes, cleanliness and appearance. Mood fluctuation is one of the most visible symptoms.Enjoys being lonely: If a kid detaches himself/herself from family and friends, and prefers being left alone, it could be a cause of worry.

Becomes less active: Drug consumption could cause a sudden lack of interest in sports or any other activity as they teen's becomes more distractive.Starts stealing, switching to crime: To procure drugs, addicts start borrowing money from friends, classmates etc. Sometimes, when desperate, they also steal. If parents notice that valuables items are vanishing from the house, they should keep an eye on their child. Other important symptoms: Food intake reduces when doing drugs; vomiting regularly; face turning pale and erratic sleeping hours.

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