Even as the world observed International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking last week, the rise in cases of drug abuse and trafficking has become a major cause of concern for Meghalaya, says a report in the Guwahati-based Assam Tribune.

Several narcotics-related cases have been registered during the last one year. Apart from the state police, Customs officials have made huge seizures. From 2018 till date, the Shillong-based Commissionerate of Customs (Preventive), NE Region, has seized 1.37 kg of heroin. Apart from that 12.6 kg opium, 1.6 kg cocaine, 0.47 gm morphine, 2306.08 kg ganja and 3, 24,024 methamphetamine tablets and 303 bottles of phensedyl were seized.

“These seizures were from different parts of the North-eastern states, barring Sikkim. However, the seizure record in Meghalaya was abnormally high,” a senior Customs official said.

With easy availability of drugs, several people have fallen victim to drug abuse and many among them are juveniles. Recently, a controversial video was circulated on social media in which teens were paraded by the security agencies for alleged drug abuse in the city. The state police have been constantly confiscating drugs in Meghalaya, but there has been no end to the menace. Recently, the Khasi Hills Anti-Narcotic Task Force has also made several seizures. The latest seizure was that of heroin weighing 183.49 grams hidden in soap boxes. Two persons were arrested in the case. “More arrests are not ruled out as it appears to be a big drugs cartel,” the district police said.

One of the challenges before law enforcement agencies is to stop the flow of drugs through the porous IndoBangladesh and Indo-Myanmar border. The latter remains the most challenging to guard with regards to drug smuggling. Some lethal drugs emanate from Myanmar, especially along the border with Laos and Thailand, also referred to as the Golden Triangle.

Most hard drugs like heroin, cocaine and metampethmine are smuggled from Myanmar and then sent to Manipur or Mizoram. They are later distributed to different parts of the region and other parts of the country. Efforts are on to involve the community proactively to stop the menace of drug abuse. The authorities have been trying to get community and religious leaders, NGOs and the media to raise awareness in this regard.