Beeline at rehab centres in Punjab

Beeline at rehab centres in Punjab

With the supply of narcotics drying out amid a clampdown by the Punjab government on drug cartels, de-addiction and rehabilitation centres have witnessed an unprecedented footfall.

A whopping 126% increase in the number of youths reporting for drug treatment at the OPDs this year has been reported.

Against 1.82 lakh youngsters who reported at OPDs for treatment in 2016, the number had gone up to 4.12 lakh this year.

The Congress government, led by Captain Amarinder Singh, had pledged to eradicate the drug menace in the first four weeks of coming to power in its poll manifesto.

That was a difficult task to achieve by any standard, yet the Captain's government managed significant success by breaking supply lines and arresting drug peddlers who were supplying drugs in villages and urban settlements to youths and other consumers.

Over a year into power, the government claims the availability of drugs has diminished sizeably, which is why the youth trapped in the clutches of drugs are reaching de-addiction centres and hospitals for treatment.

The Captain on Thursday said that many as 5,107 youths were being treated at the government rehabilitation centres and another 17,667 in private hospitals.

"The big fish would also be nabbed soon from wherever they have fled to," he said.

Punjab accounts for the maximum of drug seizures in the country. In fact, the drug recoveries, including of the highly priced heroin, is more than the seizures from all the other states put together. 

Punjab has a Special Task Force dedicated to tackle drugs.

To enable community response, the government has been on a spree to appoint drug-abuse prevention officers (DAPO) across the state.

So far, nearly 4.8 lakh DAPOs are registered in the state. The chief minister on Thursday launched a "buddy programme" in Punjab schools for proactive efforts by all concerned.

The programme will cover all students from Class 6 onwards, starting with Class 9 in the first phase.