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Drugs awareness campaign intensifies in schools

KOCHI: Childline and child welfare agencies have intensified drug awareness programmes following alerts over easy access to new high-end drugs circulating in the city. 

According to one such alert, methamphetamine or meth is gaining ground in the city. Called strawberry quick, it is a type of crystal which looks like strawberry pop candy and smells like strawberry and comes in chocolate, peanut, cola, cherry and orange flavours. 

The popularity of methamphetamine has triggered a major concern as it is a new and costly drug apart from being a strong one. "We have received alerts on the drug. One can't substantiate unless somebody is caught with the drug. However, we have already alerted all Childline agencies on high-end drugs. They will speak to parents about the dangers posed by the drug during open house," said Deepak G, state coordinator of Kerala Child Rights Observatory (KeCRO), a network of all NGOs working for child welfare.

The city police say that they have collected samples from a drug peddler and are trying to track the wholesalers of this drug. "It comes as a food category and mostly from north India. We are trying to track it," said deputy commissioner of police Muhammed Raffeeq. 

The narcotics crime bureau (NCB) officials and the police say that drugs are being sold in newer forms. "We have seen erasers, glues, etc. being used as drugs. So we are not ruling out any such possibility," said Aluva deputy SP P P Shams. 

After a study conducted by the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, found that about 74% school children in Kerala use tobacco, the state government had sent out an alert to all Janamaithri police to actively campaign in schools against alcohol and tobacco abuse. 

"Though, we concentrate on these two, students often have queries about drug use," said IMA secretary Dr Rajeev Jayadevan. 

NCB officials have also launched an awareness campaign against drug abuse in most schools and colleges. "Some of the schools invite us. But now we are directly calling up the school and asking for time to speak to middle and high school students. We also advice children to speak to their parents at least an hour a day about their school and friends," said NCB superintendent Venugopal G Kurup. Schools can call NCB for talks at 0484-2425321 

Courtesy- The Times of India

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