City’s only coun­selling cell for drug ad­dicts shut for months

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - HT NAVI MUMBAI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­

NAVI MUM­BAI: The only coun­sel­ing cell for drug abusers, run by the Navi Mum­bai po­lice along with one non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion (NGO) at the Turbhe po­lice sta­tion has been shut for the past six to seven months.

“The trans­fer of a few of­fi­cers who had been sup­port­ive to the idea of open­ing the cell also con­trib­uted to its clo­sure,” said one po­lice of­fi­cer.

In view of the in­creas­ing in­stances of drug and sex­ual abuse, the city po­lice along with the HEART (Help­ing to Ed­u­cate, As­so­ci­ate, Re­ha­bil­i­tate and Teach) Foun­da­tion opened the free cell for vic­tims in 2014. It elicited a good re­sponse from city res­i­dents and sev­eral drug abusers at­tended the coun­sel­ing ses­sions.

Struck by the lack of coun­selors, the ses­sions be­came ir­reg­u­lar af­ter a few months and at one point, peo­ple stopped com­ing there.

Prashant Khaire, deputy com­mis­sioner of po­lice (zone 1) said, “A sep­a­rate cell ex­clu­sively for coun­sel­ing drug and sex abusers plays a cru­cial role in any city. It helps such vic­tims start a new phase of life. We have plans to re­open the cell for the con­ve­nience of the needy and are al­ways ready to pro­vide sup­port if any or­ga­ni­za­tion comes to work with us.”

Dr Jayakar El­lis, founder of HEART said, “We will be very happy if the much-needed cell is re­opened as soon as pos­si­ble. More and more youths are get­ting ad­dicted to drugs in the city. Apart from al­co­hol and mar­i­juana, many of them have started in­hal­ing whiten­ers as these are cheaper and eas­ily avail­able,” he said, adding that they are plan­ning to dis­cuss the mat­ter with the new com­mis­sioner of po­lice of Navi Mum­bai, He­mant Na­grale.

Ac­cord­ing to El­lis, sev­eral young­sters now also in­hale petrol, paste used by cob­blers and cough syrups. Many school dropouts who are into rag-pick­ing also get ad­dicted to these.

Ram Desh­mukh, se­nior po­lice in­spec­tor of Turbhe po­lice sta­tion how­ever, said that it would be bet­ter if the cell is re­opened af­ter the mon­soon. “Ev­ery year our po­lice sta­tion is in­un­dated by flood wa­ter dur­ing mon­soon and we have to work from a nearby tem­ple. We are sup­port­ive of the idea of running the coun­sel­ing cell in our po­lice sta­tion. How­ever, be­cause of this is­sue it is ad­vis­able to re­open it only af­ter the mon­soon.”

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