Kerala's drug issue escalates, as cases jump by 300 per cent in six years
The police and the Excise department have carried out a series of drug hauls in the Indian state of Kerala which led to a sharp increase in cases related to banned tobacco products, liquor and narcotics in 2022, indicating the state's new and escalating problem of drugs.
As per the data, 26,629 cases were registered by the police under India's Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in 2022, which is an increase of 300 per cent compared to 5,924 cases registered in 2016 and 188 per cent when compared to 9,245 cases registered in the pre-pandemic year of 2019.
As the data reflects, the cases have steadily increased since 2016, and have only witnessed a dip in the numbers in the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, and now the numbers have sharply shot up in 2022.
The Excise data's analysis shows that there was an 87.47 per cent increase in the number of people arrested in the cases filed under the NDPS Act between 2016 and 2022, from 3,217 to 6,031, as the number of cases registered between the same years increased by 104 per cent.
The number of cases increased steadily even though there was only a marginal increase in the number of raids from 1,39,366 in 2016 to 1,44,200 in 2022.
The cases registered under the NDPS Act by the Excise department also reflect the steady increase from 2016, as the highest number of cases get registered in 2019 in a span of six years.
Drug offences are handled by both the Excise departments and police under the NDPS Act, as the quantum of punishment varies on the quantity of drugs seized.
Additional Director-General Police and Excise Commissioner S Ananthakrishnan said that such an increase in drug-related cases in the state is a factor of both “strict enforcement and raids” and the contraband's easier access.
“Accessibility of synthetic drugs such as MDMA and LSD has increased. Youngsters are now aware about the availability of synthetic drugs. There is also peer pressure to explore these drugs,” he said.