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How people of a Kerala village jointly fight drug abuse, peddlers

Residents of Amballamukku, Thamarassery in Kerala who are leading the campaign against drug abuse in their village.

People of a small village in Kerala are on a mission to combat the scourge of drug abuse plaguing their community and have been not only helping police bust drug traffickers but also identifying drug addicts in their village for proper rehabilitation.

Led by a local mosque committee, the fight against drug abuse at Amballamukku in Thamarassery became a large collective effort with local temple authorities, panchayat, police and other like-minded organizations joining the fight. The residents launched the fight following an incident in which a group of alleged drug peddlers attacked a family which questioned their activities. They also realised that youngsters in their locality were falling prey to the nefarious designs of the drug mafia.

“We all recognised that the battle against addiction required collective effort transcending religious and cultural boundaries. When we started the movement, people wholeheartedly welcomed it and came forward to stem the tide of substance abuse that threatened to engulf our youth,” said Vezhuppur Hidayathul Islam Mahallu Committee president Babu Kudakkil.

Their concerted efforts, in coordination with local police, have resulted in busting a few drug trafficking gangs that used to operate from an abandoned plot in the village and also identified two youngsters who have been into drug abuse for quite some time. “With the support of the family members of the youth, we admitted them to de-addiction centers. We are fully with the families to help them come out of this crisis,” Babu told “Open Digest“.

United in purpose, the committee formed squads comprising volunteers from all walks of life to keep an eye on the suspected activities of drug traffickers.

“The squads embarked on door-to-door campaigns creating awareness among the residents. We spoke to each family, mainly women members, convincing them about the need to keep an eye on the activities of their male family members. People are cooperating with us, and we will continue to fight against the drug menace,” said panchayat member Anil Kumar P A. In fact, their efforts yielded results when seven families came forward with inputs about one of their family members suspected of using drugs.

“We could uncover hidden scars of addiction that marred the lives of the families. We extended a compassionate hand to these afflicted souls, offering them a path to redemption and recovery. We gently persuaded the addicts to seek rehabilitation, reassuring them that they were not alone in their struggle,” said Babu Kudakkil.

Senior police officials said the department has been coordinating with local communities for launching village-level awareness against drug abuse, dealing with the drugs mafia with the support of the community and identifying drug users and peddlers.

(This article is part of the anti-drug campaign #ChooseLife in association with Infopark, Kochi and Kerala Police.)

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