India, March 26 -- The lockdown to fight the spread of coronavirus has turned Kerala from a tipplers' paradise into a nightmare and has flooded the government with complaints of irrational behaviour and violent withdrawal symptoms of regular drinkers, say officials.

The government has decided to open more de-addiction counters at state-run hospitals amid fears that the alcohol and drug mafia may step in to cash in on the demand for intoxicants.

"We admit it is a social issue. But our hands are tied now. We can only open more de-addiction wards in the hospitals at this juncture. We will provide them free treatment," said Excise Minister T P Ramakrishnan.

Amid the all-out drive to rein in the coronavirus pandemic, the state excise depart...