Aim at 'big guns' to combat drug menace, don’t ban products indiscriminately: Shashi Tharoor

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor released the book 'Before its too late', written by former IPS officer Rishi Raj Singh (left), in Thiruvananthapuram, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023 | PTI Photo

Thiruvananthapuram: Aim at the "big guns'' to combat the drug menace and not ban everything, like pan masala, indiscriminately, said Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday. He added that the incidents of drug use and deaths related to it are on a rise not only in Kerala, but across India.

Tharoor, after launching a book -- Before It's Too Late -- by former Kerala Director General of Prisons Rishi Raj Singh, said that numbers of cases registered in connection with drug use have tripled in the last three years in Kerala.

The number of drugs-related deaths have quadrupled in the state during the same period, he claimed.

The Congress MP said that this rising trend was not confined to the southern state alone and across India there was a consistent increase in drug cases and related deaths.

He further said a clean sweeping ban on everything, like pan masala, was not the answer as it has resulted in creating an "allure" and a "challenge".

"If everything is banned, everything becomes contraband and a source of guilty pleasure. Pan masala is legal in most states in India, but is banned in Kerala. Why? Why should we ban pan masala?

"If used in large amounts it can cause oral cancer, but that is something parents or a family can advise the children not to use," he said.

In many western countries, cannabis has been legalised for the reason that in small quantities it is not harmful and also acts as a pain reliever.

The Congress MP said here we are "banning things indiscriminately" which has made the task of law enforcement agencies to field out the illegalities an impossibility.

"Meanwhile, more and more dangerous drugs are coming out in the market. Prescription drugs are being sold without prescriptions and are being given to children. Chemically created drugs which inject far more toxins into children are also easily available.

"At least on these serious things there should be a much more serious crackdown."

Tharoor also speculated whether in trying to tackle many things, were we "tackling nothing"?

"Should we be selective in shooting our bullets at the big guns, making sure we can aim at real targets? If we can focus our resources and police abilities on things which do more harm to children, we can combat the serious menace of drugs," he suggested.

Tharoor also suggested that extra curricular activities in schools should be given importance as that is where students develop their talents and turn into good human beings.

"Unfortunately, parents are forgetting that," he said.

He stressed on the importance for children to take part in extra curricular activities in order to take away the constant pressure on them to perform well academically which causes tension and stress to them and is one of the reasons for turning to drugs.

The other reasons, according to the book, are the attraction associated with drug use, peer pressure, boredom-, etc, Tharoor said at the event.

He said that book by the retired IPS officer, who served as Transport Commissioner and Excise Commissioner in Kerala, was "a favour to society" as it indicates what the problems are.


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