Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Amarinder Singh on Tuesday announced free treatment for poor drug addicts at all state-run de-addiction centres, and also ordered the police not to harass addicts or their families in any way.
Chairing a high-level meeting of civil surgeons, medical superintendents and principals of the government medical colleges at Punjab Bhawan this afternoon, the CM directed his chief principal secretary to ensure that the necessary funds for free treatment are immediately placed at the disposal of the concerned deputy commissioners.
If more funds were needed, he would sanction the same from the CM’s Relief Fund, said Amarinder Singh, while directing the Health Department to explore the possibility of seeking financial aid from reputed national and international health organisations, besides engaging with NGOs already working to fight drug abuse.
Noting that drug trafficking was an inter-state problem, of which Punjab was the biggest victim, Amarinder said that he would personally take up the issue with the Prime Minister (PM). He said he will urge the PM to intensify Centre’s efforts to prevent the entry of drugs and narcotics into Punjab from the adjoining states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.
Amarinder also underlined the need to keep a strict vigil over the nefarious activities of some foreign students, especially of African origin, who were studying in private institutions, colleges and universities, and were reportedly into drug smuggling and peddling. He asked the management of these institutions to crack down on such students.
Responding to another demand raised in the meeting, Amarinder asked the health department to work out the modalities, in consultation with the transport department, for extending the facility of free travel to the poor drug addicts along with one attendant each in government buses for travel to the nearby de-addiction centres, on the lines of cancer patients.
The CM took serious note of reports of police probing the antecedents of drug addicts taking admission in drug-addiction centres and directed for strict orders against entry of any police official into the centres.