Finance Minister K M Mani said that teenage drinking habits are on the rise in the state with a large number of Class XII students becoming addicted to alcohol.
He was delivering the presidential address at the national convention against tobacco, alcohol, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances held on the occasion of the UN International Day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking, which was observed here on Wednesday.
The programme was jointly organised by Anti-Narcotic Council of India, UN agencies, Central and State government agencies, RCC, NRHM, KIMS Health Care Group and voluntary agencies.
‘’Many young people of our country are victims of substance abuse and we need to organise innovative programmes for a drug-free society,’’ Mani said.
Citing the Economic Review figures, Mani said that the present consumption rate for Kerala is 1.76 gallons/ person. Even alcoholic dementia is said to be on the rise in Kerala and prohibition is no solution.
Pointing out that the state leads the table of maximum alcohol consumption, he said that the increase of drinking among a sizeable chunk of the middle class could also be due to the propaganda that moderate drinking gives health benefits.
Governor Nikhil Kumar, in his inaugural address, said that wherever there was drug trade internationally, there was also cross-border terrorism. ‘’The areas under drug trade also are vulnerable to lawlessness and are unaccountable. Unfortunately, India too seems to be a route for international drug trade,’’ he said.
He said that there is a need to be aware of the dangers of drug abuse and persuade people to avoid it.
Dr B Vivekanandan, former chairman of CAWES, School of International Studies, made a call to wind up the State Beverages Corporation at the earliest.
However, the Finance Minister said that it is a time for introspection. He aid that drug and alcohol abuse hinders not just the progress of the society but also affects personal relationships as well.
Mani promised that that the State government will be in the forefront to support all initiatives to free the state from alcohol and substance abuse for a better tomorrow.
The Governor released awareness literature by handing over a copy to Director-General of Police K.S Balasubrahmanian.
M I Sahadulla was named national ambassador of the Anti-Narcotic Council of India.
Social Justice Minister M K Muneer, Excise Minister K Babu, Regional Cancer Centre director Paul Sebastian and Anti-Narcotic Council of India chief executive director G.Aravindan also took part in the programme.