While lockdown proved to be a worst time period for millions, the "darkest time" turned out to a boon for druggies of the city. This can be said so as drug peddlers and consumers made the most of it during the lockdown period as city's anti-narcotics cell (ANC) was busy in bandobast duty.
Notably, the city recorded around 27 drug possession cases from January 2020 till October this year.
According to the official data provided by Anti Narcotic Cell (ANC), a total of 27 cases have been reported wherein 33 persons have been arrested for possessing around 157 kg of drugs.
The official data states that the ANC has seized drugs worth Rs 15.99 crore.
However, ANC chief DCP Datta Nalawade says the present numbers are much less than what is reported every year. "These are very less numbers. Every year at least 1000 cases are reported. But this year, only 27 cases have been recorded," the DCP said.
These low numbers, according to Nalawade are because of the lockdown. "This is because of lockdown. In a way we can say that yes the drug peddlers got a free hand during the lockdown," he said.
"Almost all the units of city police were busy on bandobast duty to ensure the lockdown is implemented properly. Since we were busy on duty, the drug peddlers were operating without any interruption, however, the picture changed as soon as we were back on duty," the officer added.
According to Nalawade, there has been a disturbing trend with rise in consumption cases. "Consumption has increased a lot. This is because of college going students and more and more youngsters coming into the picture of drugs consumption," the officer said.
A final solution, this officer says is focusing on both consumption and supply.
"There is a serious need to break the supply chain and also the consumption. We cannot focus on only one of these," DCP Nalawade said.
"To ensure that the chain is broken successfully, we need to create more awareness among consumers of drugs. We need to make them understand that consuming drugs is harmful not only for their body but even for the society," the officer said.
The officer further added that the investigating agencies need to focus even on the supply chain. "More stern legal action is needed to be taken against the drug peddlers. Only then we can break the chain," the DCP said.
"The NDPS laws aren't at fault at all. They are pretty much stern and well in place," the officer clarified.