THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala government is mulling setting up a de-addiction institute as part of its new liquor policy, with the aim of strengthening anti-alcohol drives and meeting its ambitious target of total prohibition in the next 10 years.
The state-of-the-art institute, planned under the state Excise Department, will co-ordinate various de-addiction programmes now in progress under different departments.
The facility, planned to be set up at the Excise Academy campus in Thrissur district, is being designed as part of the government's ambitious 'Subodham' project, launched to cleanse the state of alcohol and drug abuse and help people overcome substance addiction.
The 'Subodham' campaign aims to free one lakh people from drug and alcohol addiction each year.
At present, different de-addiction programmes are run by state agencies such as Kudumbashree, police, institutions under local self government and social justice departments, besides the Excise Department.
Besides this, a number of de-addiction centres, run by religious groups and NGOs, are also functioning in the state.
Sources in the Excise Minister's office said the institute is envisaged to give uniformity to the de-addiction programmes and bring all of them under law.
"It has come to the notice of the government that crude practises are followed in many illegal de-addiction centres. Some centres give medicine to patients, but some others do not. People are even beaten up in certain institutions as part of de-addiction treatments," they said.
"We have to bring uniformity in de-addiction treatments and check spurious institutions and those follow crude and unscientific methods," he said.
The proposed centre will have everything regarding de-addiction initiatives including treatment, training classes for personnel in this regard,awareness drives and co-ordinated initiatives with NGOs and reputed institutions who have a good track-record in the area, he said.
A joint excise commissioner would be in charge of the institute.
The initiative is expected to create a great impact in de addiction programmes in Kerala and help bring a large number of people to overcome addiction to liquor and drug, they said.
As part of the new liquor policy, the Education Department is also planning to include the ill-effects of alcohol and drugs in the state curriculum from the next academic year.
The government had closed down over 700 liquor bars statewide last year as part of the policy.