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