Over 1,500 youngsters from various colleges in Chennai participated in the ‘Say no to drugs’ campaign held at Ethiraj College. The initiative was jointly conducted by D 3230, District Rotaract Council and Rotaract Club of Ethiraj College to “teach students and young people to take pride in saying no to this life destroying habit,” said Jacklin, a de-addiction counsellor at TTK Hospital, Chennai. The TTK Clinical Research Foundation was founded in 1980 and since then has helped over 20,000 individuals withdraw from alcohol/drug addiction. “Though the number of students getting into drug addiction in the city might still be small, the number is steadily growing,” she warned.
Additional DGP Sunil Kumar shocked the audience with the information that “last year the State Narcotics Department seized drugs worth Rs 4 crore, and this year, so far, we have seized drugs worth Rs 14 crore. This proves that the demand is growing and you could be the next target,” he told the students. “While the police department is doing its job, educational institutions and students like you should bring cases of drug addiction among students to our notice.”
Calling the students “agents of change,” PRID PT Prabhakar said “You now hold the responsibility of saying no to drugs and helping a friend or family member who is a victim.” DG Natarajan Nagoji advised the students not to get caught up in the moment and take drugs in the name of celebration. “Not only are you putting your health at risk, you could also land up ruining your life.”
Identifying peer pressure as one of the main reasons for students getting into drug abuse, Jacklin highlighted the necessity for Parent-Teacher Associations to work proactively and make students constantly aware of the dangers of drug addiction.
A pledge to ‘Say No to Drugs’ was administered followed by a poster release and a mime show.
Pictures by K Vishwanathan