NLSIU Rattled by Drug Abuse

Two addicts spread habit among fellow students at premier institution, prompt an inquiry

Published: 07th February 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th February 2015 08:17 AM   |  A+A-


BENGALURU:  India’s top law university is grappling with a substance abuse problem on its campus.

The National Law School of India University (NLSIU) has just set up a committee to determine the extent of the problem. A former judge, now a member of the faculty, heads the committee.

The university authorities were stunned when they received information about distribution of drugs on the sprawling, sylvan campus, and promptly ordered an inquiry.

In the last week of December 2014, before students went on vacation, the authorities received complaints about substance abuse on the campus.

They referred the matter to the Disciplinary Matters Advisory Review and Investigation Committee, and Dr Setlur Prakash, a former judge now on the university faculty.

A source said two students hooked to drugs introduced others to the addiction.

“In fact, initially, only two were involved, and the others were not bothered. The matter reached the higher-ups when the addicts started spreading the habit,” said a source.

Officials refused to reveal the names of the drugs or from where they were being procured. “The inquiry committee is looking into it,” a source said. Since the campus is closed for vacations, the inquiry will take some time to begin. Registrar Dr O V Nandimath confirmed the developments.

“Yes, and we have handed the complaints to a committee. Once we receive a report from it, we will decide about further action,” he told Express.

He said the university would take a “zero-tolerance” approach to drugs. Substance abuse is not uncommon on the campus, but this is the first time complaints have reached the authorities, sources said.

Problem Not New

A year ago, the university had sent two addicts home for rehabilitation, a source said.

In 2009, the Academic School Review Commission, headed by former Supreme Court judge K T Thomas, had expressed concern over the problem of drugs, sex and alcohol on the NLSIU campus.

Its report had described the situation as “distressing” and noted, “unabashed indulgence in sex has been disturbingly on the rise”.

The report concluded: “The young minds, in the absence of beneficent control and interactive relationship with the teachers, have become an easy prey to all sorts of evil practices... resulting in terrible stress, dreadful depression, at least two cases of suicide and a dozen of attempted suicides, and even a murder.”

Over-the-counter Drugs Abused

Easy availability of drugs is one of the main reasons for rampant abuse, according to Dr Pratima Murthy, who heads the Centre for Addiction Medicine at Nimhans.

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