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(Interviewed by Laasya Shekhar)
Among the various portrayals of illegal drug smuggling in Tamil movies, the more realistic depictions are actually seen in the film Kolamavu Kokila, a fact endorsed by none other than the Zonal Director of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), A Bruno. In a real incident reminiscent of one of the scenes in the movie, a recent tip off received by the NCB passed on information about a bus driver and conductor who tried to smuggle cocaine in a tiffin box by handing it to a woman commuter for safekeeping, hoping to avert suspicion. Unlike in the movie, the passenger here was no willing conniver. Sensing something amiss, she contacted the Bureau through her family and extricated herself from the situation without any harm. This is one of many such stories that one hears in the NCB.
The NCB is tasked with choking the local and international supply of drugs and deals with large quantities of drugs, especially if they are synthetic in nature. The drug busts are carried out through a mix of robust surveillance, conventional wisdom about gangs and smuggling methods and tip-offs from vigilant citizens. The agency has a hotline that the public can use to report any suspicious activity or substances.
Drug use patterns in Chennai have changed over the years. While marijuana is still popular, there are also newer party drugs that have gained prominence. There is also a rise in abuse of prescription medication that could grow to threatening levels in the future.
In an interview with Citizen Matters, Bruno raises the issue of widespread raves that take place in clandestine corners of the city; these play a key role in connecting young people with suppliers, and getting them addicted to drugs. The parties become proxies for long term customer acquisition tactics, where young people are introduced, and eventually get hooked to various substances such as meth, LSD, cocaine and ecstasy, with dire consequences for their physical, mental and financial well-being.
The director touched upon instances where hapless parents have approached the agency for help to reconnect with their wards who have lost their way due to drug abuse. Teenagers are a key vulnerable demographic and without adequate guidance and a healthy atmosphere at home, they may be easy prey for drug dealers.
Watch our interview in full to find out about the top drugs recovered in Chennai by the NCB and what the general public can do to curb the menace.
You can connect with the Chennai office of the NCB through phone on 044 2682 1481 or on Facebook. The NCB also conducts monthly awareness programmes in educational institutions.