Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Amarinder Singh on Monday issued a series of instructions to further strengthen his government’s anti-drug campaign, including hiring of retired government psychiatrists and private psychiatrists to handle the increased inflow of patients at the Drug De-addiction Centres.

At his weekly review meeting of the Cabinet Sub-Committee set up to monitor the anti-drug measures taken by various agencies, the CM also directed the concerned department officials to formulate strategies for ensuring security of drug addicts and their families coming to the de-addiction and rehabilitation centres, and for a holistic media campaign to effectively spread awareness on drugs.

Amarinder also asked the district authorities to crack down on centres selling Buprenophine -Naloxone in large quantities in violation of prescribed protocols. The CM asked the chief secretary to approach the Union ministry of Social Empowerment and Justice for financial grant for setting up additional private de-addiction centres in Punjab to complement the state government’s efforts to contain drug abuse.

To reach out more aggressively to the people with information on various anti-drug government programmes, Amarinder asked the Health Department to involve SDMs, BDPOs and village panchayats in dissemination programmes.

The list of the nearest Outpatient Opioid Assisted Treatment (OOAT) centres should be displayed on billboards and hoardings at strategic places, including bus stands, government hospitals and civil dispensaries in all cities, towns and villages across the state, he said.

The CM also asked the ministers in-charge of the concerned districts to hold regular meetings, along with the MLAs, to keep strict vigil over the treatment and medical care facilities being extended to the drug addicts at the government drug de-addiction and rehabilitation centres.

Besides ensuring that the OOAT and Drug De-addiction Centres work in strict adherence to the laid SOPs, the Chief Minister directed immediate inspection of the existing private centres to ensure that they are equipped with proper infrastructure in terms of manpower and other facilities. If the district authorities feel that a de-addiction centre does not meet the minimum standards or is not providing all the required services in the prescribed manner, the same may be recommended for closure, he added.

Accepting a proposal by the chief secretary, Amarinder asked the Sports & Youth Welfare Department to evolve an action plan for the revival of Youth Clubs in villages and encourage these clubs to regularly organsieKabbadi, Volleyball, and Hockey tournaments in order to constructively channelise the energy of youth.