The restrictions on liquor sales are driving the state towards a crisis situation as more people seek refuge in narcotic substances. State Excise Commissioner Rishiraj Singh, quoting data available with the government, said that the narcotic drug abuse cases increased four times when compared to last year’s. 

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"Prohibition is not practical," Rishiraj Singh said. "You can't change people one fine morning. Drug abuse increased four-fold in the state after that (the restriction on liquor sales)," he added. Kochi stands the second position in drug abuse cases in the country, after Amritsar.

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The high number of narcotic cases could be attributed to the strict enforcement of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. The Excise Department makes it a point to register a case under the act, even for the seizure of one gram of marijuana, Singh explained. 


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The most number of liquor shops downed shutters in Kollam district. No wonder, the district recorded the highest number of bootlegging cases, the Excise Commissioner said. The Excise Department is planning a study to find the connection between the rise in narcotic drug cases and the restrictions on liquor availability, he added.

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The excise department conducted 1.27 lakh raids and registered 23,600 abkari cases since June 2016. As many as arrested 22,000 persons have been arrested so far in these cases. The number of NDPS cases in this period is 3,600 while it was just 9,00 in 2014.