The Odisha government has constituted a Task Force to restrain rampant trafficking and abuse of illegal drugs in the State.

The Task Force headed by former Odisha DG Police, Abhay, will formulate a state policy within the context of National Policy on Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 2012, the State home department said in a resolution.

The mandate of the Task Force will be to coordinate, suggest action in drug demand reduction, raise community awareness, increase community participation, and intervention in schools, colleges, and among youth.

In Odisha, it is imperative to give a serious push to efforts to contain drug abuse and drug trafficking, so that the emerging problem is nipped in the bud. This can be done by a combination of demand reduction, supply reduction, and harm reduction measures, it said.

As per the government, Odisha has emerged as a major centre for drug trafficking over the last few years with cannabis grown in erstwhile Maoist-affected areas being smuggled all over the country.

According to official figures, while 198 quintals of cannabis were seized in 2015, it has increased to 1,600 quintals in 2021. 

There will be a multi-departmental coordination committee headed by the Chief Secretary and co-chaired by the State Task Force's Chairman, the resolution said.

The coordination committee will comprise secretaries of home, health and family welfare, social security, excise, school and mass education, higher education, information and public relation, and information technology departments.

The Chairman can also constitute smaller sub-committees of the Task Force to study any aspect in detail and make recommendations.