A whopping 126% increase in the number of youth reporting for drug treatment at the OPDs 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 DAPO initiative.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, said the Chief Minister, adding that as many as 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 had destroyed a whole generation of Punjab’s youth, Captain 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 fledThe Chief Minister reiterated his vow to wean the youth away from drugs through positive government interventions, including uplift of the standards of education in the stateObserving that low education levels was one of the factors contributing to frustration among 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 the budget of all the other departments to raise additional revenue for promoting and enhancing the standards of education.
While the Special Task Force (STF) was going all out to eliminate the scourge, it was the moral responsibility of every member of the society to fight this menace, said Captain Amarinder. He exhorted the people to join hands with the government in its battle against drugs, and in the rehabilitation of the affected youth.Appreciating the efforts of STF and the Health Department, as reflected in the success of the DAPO programme, the Chief Minister said the response of the people showed their support to this unique initiative. He pointed out that of the 4.8 lakh DAPOs registered in the state so far, 26,000 were from Tarn Taran.On the occasion, 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 Chief Minister called for proactive efforts by all concerned to make the Buddy Programme, launched in schools for counselling against drugs, a success. The programme will cover all students from Class 6 onwards, starting with Class 9 in the first phase.
On the new OOAT Clinics, the Chief Minister pointed out that 29 Clinics were already operational in the Districts of Moga, Amritsar & Tarn Taran, with a total of more than 4400 patients registered so far. The retention rate at these clinics was as high as 86%, he said.The Chief Minister announced the opening of 60 OOAT clinics now in the remaining districts, besides in all the central jails. The clinics, he said, would remain open all seven days a week. He disclosed that 150 Medical Officers, and 160 Counsellors and Nurses had so far been trained for these clinics, where HIV and TB testing was also being provided.Earlier, welcoming the Chief Minister, Tarn Taran MLA Dharamvir Agnihotri said that despite being a small district, the region was actively involved in supporting the government’s efforts to wipe out the menace of drugs.Prominent amongst those present on the occasion included Health Minister Brahm Mohindra, Education Minister OP Soni, Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Member Parliament from Amritsar Gurjit Singh Aujla, MLAs Harminder Singh Gill, Dharamvir Agnihotri, Tarsem Singh DC, Santokh Singh Bhalaipur, Sukhwinder Singh Danny Bandala, Special Principal Secretary to CM Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, STF Chief ADGP Harpreet Singh Sidhu,, Divisional Commissioner Raj Kamal Chaudhary, former Minister Gurchet Singh Bhullar and former MLA Jasbir Singh Dimpa.