KOCHI: If the number of narcotic cases registered this year is any indication, Kerala is going the Punjab way. Kerala has witnessed an alarming rise in drug cases in 2022 - over 8,000 in just four months - than previous years.
As per the data sourced from police, 8,124 cases have been registered under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in the state so far this year, as against 5,586 cases in the whole of 2021. A total of 4.4 kg of MDMA has been seized this year, compared to 2.7 kg in 2021. Besides, 24 kg of hashish and 610 grams of brown sugar were seized by the police this year.
"If the trend continues, the state will undoubtedly defeat Punjab in narcotics cases. Earlier, we used to register around 100 cases per month. It has increased to around 2,000. It is clear that drug abuse has increased alarmingly in the state," said a police officer.
Though the police claim that increased enforcement activities has resulted in the massive uptick in registering of NDPS cases, reports suggest that drug abuse among the public, especially youngsters, is the primary cause.
"The police have now shifted focus to nabbing drug peddlers. Earlier, if a guy was arrested in a drug case, we did not give much focus to the source of the drug. Now, we have started tracing the source and the end user. This has helped us nab more people," said DIG (Ernakulam range) Neeraj Kumar Gupta.
Making all efforts to curb rising drug menace: Police
The DIG added that for systematic action against anti-socials and repeated offenders, a method has been developed for collecting details as soon as a criminal is involved in a new case. "This will help take action like initiating proceedings under 107 CrPC, seeking bail cancellation, and invoking KAA PA wherever applicable. This has resulted in focused time-bound actions against the goondas/ anti-socials," he said.
He added that the police are also planning to impose 12-month preventive detention on peddlers and financiers, besides attaching their property. The police said they also noticed a surge in narcotics cases post the relaxation of restrictions after peak COVID.
"The use and availability of the drug was less during the Covid period. Since the enforcement was less strict during the initial days after the curb relaxations, drug peddlers used this as an opportunity. We are making all the effort to curb the drug menace," said Ernakulam Rural SP K Karthick.