Even as Kerala Excise Department is on a vigil to clamp down on substance-abuse, newer intoxicants are being introduced in the market.
After the department's stringent action against the abuse of thinners and nail-polish removers, fruit-flavoured mouth-sprays are now being sold at shops near schools to lure teenaged school students.
Large quantities of addictive fruit-flavoured mouth-sprays have been confiscated by state excise officials from shops located close to schools in Kerala.
Speaking to The News Minute, state Excise Commissioner Rishi Raj Singh said that such raids have been going on for the past four months.
Highly addictive in nature, these sprays are fruity in flavour and reportedly give you an instant high. The kids are hooked the first time they try them, and they keep coming back for more.
‚ÄúThese are made in China, with more than one manufacturer involved in their production. Unlike whiteners and nail polish, these cannot be counted under the substance-abuse category, but is specifically made to give one a kick,‚ÄĚ elaborates Rishi Raj.
Having made an appearance in the market in the last four months, routine inspections and numerous complaints filed by parents and other shop owners was what brought its existence to the notice of the Excise Department officials.
AK Narayanankutty -Ernakulam Excise Deputy Commissioner- said that the department had seized the said substance in raids at Malappuram and Kozhikode.
"We have also received information that many stores in Mattanchery and Fort Kochi too sell this substance. We will take action once we are convinced its veracity," he said.
According to the officer, apart from fruit-flavoured ones, whisky and brandy flavours are also being sold.
The department is in the process of ascertaining the exact composition of the substance that is sold in 50-100ml glass bottles.
"There is no proper packing or labels on the bottles. Among school students, it is popularly known by the flavour that is added to it. Students in the age group of 13 to 17 are found to be regular users of this substance," the deputy commissioner said.