In the late 80s, aggressive drug peddling on college campuses had seen a tidal wave of drug issues with the youth of the country.
So followed a sustained effort by the Academy to educate the youth about the evils of drug addiction via a series of seminars, debate competitions and the establishment of an anti-drug award. As Mr. Nanik Rupani says, “They should be aware that at first they consume drugs and then the drugs consume them.”
Mr. Rupani took this issue up at the Ministries level. Meetings were organized with the police and with the efforts of the Academy, a special DCP was appointed to regularly visit schools and colleges in Mumbai and rout out the peddlers.
As part of its awareness drive, the Academy, in collaboration with Drug Abuse Information Rehabilitation & Research Centre (DAIRRC), unfurled the World’s Longest Banner with anti-drug messages. A human chain of over 10,000 student volunteers from schools and colleges of Mumbai, along with 700 DAIRRC volunteers, held the 5km long banner (from Nariman Point to Walkeshwar), made from 44,000 sq. feet of cloth, aloft. Several Maharashtra ministers, the Mumbai Police Commissioner and many prominent citizens of Mumbai participated in the event.
The Academy went forward to address this issue at a global level, in collaboration with the United States Information Service, organizing a high-powered Round Table discussion on “Current U.S. and Indian Drug Abuse Laws” at the American Center, Mumbai. Amongst the dignitaries who participated were, Mrs. Lois Herrington, Chairperson of the White House Conference for a Drugfree America (1988-89); Mrs. Prabha Rau, the then Maharashtra Minister for Revenue and Cultural Affairs; Mr. Madhav Gadkari, Editor of Loksatta; and Mrs. Bakul Patel, Social Worker, to name a few.