Confirming the scale of drug menace in Punjab, over four lakh youngsters reported at state government hospitals in 2017 for drug treatment. As many as 5107 youth were being treated at the government rehabilitation centres and another 17,667 in private hospitals.
Disclosing this on Thursday, the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said a whopping 126 percent increase was witnessed in the number of youth reporting for drug treatment at the OPDs (outer patients department) in 2017.
The CM said it showed the stupendous success of the government’s efforts to wipe out the menace from the state, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said on Thursday, launching the second phase of his government’s unique drug abuse prevention officer (DAPO) initiative at Taran Taran.
Amarinder said as against 1.82 lakh youngsters who reported at OPDs for treatment in 2016, the number had gone up to 4.12 lakh in 2017. The CM said while 5107 youth were being treated at the government rehabilitation Centres and another 17,667 in private hospitals.
Reiterating his government’s zero tolerance to drugs, which he said had destroyed a whole generation of Punjab’s youth, Amarinder said nobody found involved in spreading the menace of drugs would be spared, and the big fish would also soon be nabbed from wherever they had fled.
The CM reiterated his vow to wean the youth away from drugs through positive government interventions, including uplift of the standards of education in the state.
Observing that low education levels was one of the factors contributing to frustration among youth, thereby driving them towards negative influences such as drugs, the CM said his government was according top priority to improving the education system in the state.
On the occasion, the CM 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
On the new OOAT Clinics, the CM pointed out that 29 Clinics were already operational in the districts of Moga, Amritsar and Tarn Taran, with a total of more than 4400 patients registered so far. The retention rate at these clinics was as high as 86 percent, he said.