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From Transit to Destination: Meghalaya battles rising drug abuse and trafficking

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Shillong, Dec 5: The Meghalaya police, in their continuous efforts to combat the drug menace, revealed critical insights into drug abuse and trafficking during the DREAM program at the U Soso Tham auditorium on Tuesday. Director General of Meghalaya Police, LR Bishnoi, highlighted the alarming situation, emphasizing the state’s sensitivity due to its proximity to the notorious Golden Triangle.

Bishnoi stated, “The Golden Triangle, encompassing Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos, is vast, capable of accommodating 40 Meghalayas, where illegal opium cultivation thrives.”

From Transit to Destination: Meghalaya battles rising drug abuse and trafficking

One notable shift is Meghalaya’s transformation from a transit route to a destination for drug-related activities. The escalation is fuelled by an increase in drug abusers, extending from urban to rural areas. Notably, there’s a rising trend among females falling prey to drug abuse, leading to subsequent issues like domestic violence and traffic incidents.

DGP Bishnoi also highlighted the correlation between drug abuse and daily incidents of domestic violence and traffic accidents in Shillong. Sharing the statistics, he said from 2020-2022, 183 cases were registered under the NDPS Act in 2023, indicating a concerning upward trend. In 2022, 234 drug traffickers were arrested, a number that has surged to 349 by December 4, 2023. The rise in drug trafficking is evident in the seizure of 7.5 kgs of heroin in 2022 and 16.7 kgs in 2023.

The Meghalaya police, in their continuous efforts to combat the drug menace, revealed critical insights into drug abuse and trafficking during the DREAM program at the U Soso Tham auditorium on Tuesday. Director General of Meghalaya Police, LR Bishnoi, highlighted the alarming situation, emphasizing the state's sensitivity due to its proximity to the notorious Golden Triangle.

Bishnoi emphasized the gravity of the situation, explaining, “One kg of heroin can turn 2,000 youths into drug users due to its potent dosage.” The seizure data reveals an alarming increase in cannabis, Yaba tablets, psychotropic tablets, cough syrup, and cash from traffickers.

Last year’s seizures of cash, mobile phones, and vehicles amounted to Rs. 37 lakh, 187 mobiles, and 67 vehicles, respectively. In 2023, the figures rose to Rs 47 lakh, 401 mobiles, and 156 vehicles.

Last year, drug related cases were registered in 28 police stations but this year it has gone up to 42 police station. “It means the problem is spreading from the urban to the rural area; and this is a cause of concern for all of us,” said the DGP.

From Transit to Destination: Meghalaya battles rising drug abuse and trafficking

It is to be mentioned here that Meghalaya has a total of 80 police stations, which means over 50 percent of police stations are handling drug related cases.

He further expressed his gratitude towards the Chief Minister for his consistent guidance and unflinching support to the Meghalaya police. He informed that in the month of April, the CM has sanctioned Rs. 1.5 crore worth of machinery for forensic science laboratory. And because of this laboratory, it has made the job easier for them since earlier samples needed to be sent to Mizoram, Assam, Chandigarh for testing.

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Furthermore, identifying factors contributing to drug involvement, Bishnoi said domestic atmosphere, family pressure, and lack of awareness are some of the factors. He also informed that Meghalaya police have conducted approximately 1,800 drug awareness programs across the state to address these issues comprehensively.

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