Anti-drug campaign gets smarter

To ensure its annual awareness campaign against drugs gets the attention of the young mass, the anti-narcotics cell (ANC) is doing away with lectures and is planning to just display posters with catchy illustrations and text. ANC has approached JJ School of Arts for help to create the artwork for the campaign. The idea is to convey the message through fewer words and relevant, eye-catching images.

Confirming the decision, ANC deputy commissioner of police Vinayak Deshmukh said, "We have spoken to the authorities at JJ School of Arts. We will hold some more meetings with them to finalise things." ANC awareness campaigns in colleges began in 2008 after the cell, then under IPS officer Vishwas Nangre- Patil busted a major rave party at the Bombay 72 Degrees East pub in Juhu, arrested several suppliers and detained more than 100 youngsters. Many of the arrested were college students and celebrity kids.

Considering the young generation is getting increasingly drawn to narcotics, ANC started regular awareness campaigns in colleges across Mumbai, where youngsters were warned of the ill effects of drug abuse and encouraged to come forward and report any such incidents to police with the option of remaining anonymous. "Over the years, we have observed that lectures by experts we organise get poor response. We spoke to some principals and they told us students do not show much interest in lectures and that it was a tough task to get them to attend. So we decided to change our approach," Deshmukh said.

The posters will be displayed at college entrances, canteens and other spots where there is largescale movement of students. ANC officials said as the posters will be designed by students of roughly the same age as the ANC target audience, they will have a better chance of hitting a chord.

Meanwhile, ANC officers are sifting through material used in earlier campaigns to extract short and relevant sections.

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