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Punjab CM claims success in drive against drug menace

Amarinder Singh launches the second phase of Drug Abuse Prevention Officer initiative at Tarn Tarn on Thursday.

Amarinder Singh launches the second phase of Drug Abuse Prevention Officer initiative at Tarn Tarn on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Over 4,00,000 youth reporting at OPDs for treatment, claims Amarinder

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday said the number of youth reporting for drug treatment at out-patient departments has increased sharply, indicating that the government's efforts against drugs menace is on the right track.

Speaking at Tarn Taran during the launch of the second phase of Drug Abuse Prevention Officer initiative — aimed at engaging government employees and citizens in the drive against drugs — Capt. Singh said as against 1,82,000 youngsters who reported at OPDs for treatment in 2016, the number has gone up to 4,12,000 in 2017.

Besides that, as many as 5,107 youth are being treated at the government rehabilitation centres and another 17,667 in private hospitals, he said, adding that nobody found involved in drugs smuggling would be spared and the big fish would soon be nabbed from wherever they have fled.

Focus on education

Observing that "low education level" was one of the factors contributing to frustration among the youth, thereby driving them towards negative influences such as drugs, the Chief Minister said his government was according top priority to improving the education system in the State.

He reiterated his suggestion for a 5% cut each in budget of all other departments to raise additional revenue for promoting and enhancing the standard of education.

He said while the Special Task Force was going all out to eliminate the scourge, it was the moral responsibility of every member of society to fight against the drugs menace.

People’s initiative

“People should join hands with the government in its battle against drugs and in the rehabilitation of the affected youth,” he said.

The Chief Minister also dedicated to the people of Punjab Nasha Roku Nigram Committees, the launch of Buddy Programme and OOAT (Outpatient Opioid Assisted Treatment) Centres at 60 sub-divisions of the State.

The Buddy Programme, launched in schools for counselling against drugs will cover all students from Class VI onwards, starting with Class IX in the first phase, he said.

On the OOAT Clinics, the Chief Minister said that 29 clinics were already operational in Moga, Amritsar and Tarn Taran districts, with more than 4,400 patients registered so far.

The retention rate at these clinics was as high as 86%, he said, adding the clinics would remain open all seven days of a week.

Capt. Singh said 150 medical officers and 160 counsellors and nurses have so far been trained for these clinics, where HIV and TB testing is also being provided.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 7:19:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/punjab-cm-claims-success-in-drive-against-drug-menace/article23918748.ece

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