Punjab govt takes up challenge to check drug abuse

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Chandigarh, Mar 25 (UNI) The Punab government has taken up the challenge of combating the drug menace frontally by taking initiatives on both supply and demand of such drugs by the public.

This was stated in the state Assembly here today by Health Minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla while replying to a question by Charanjit Singh Channi (Ind).

She told the House that though no survey on drug abuse among youth has been conducted by the department of Health and Family Welfare, but surveys condcted by other agencies showed that drug and liquor intae was very high in Punjab. The national figure of liquor intake was 26 per cent while that for Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh this was 49.8 per cent, she said while refering to various surveys conducted by independent agencies.

Likewise the national figure of tobacco intake was 57.9 per cent while in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh this was 64 per cent, she added. She pointed out that 38 per cent of the users of intraveinous drugs were Aids patients.

"The state government is aware of the gravity of the problem of drug abuse among youth in the state", she told the House.

Ms Chawla said that as drug and alcohol dependence was a medical disorder relating to brain and mind with possible serious and fatal medical complications the government has decided to establish 20 Drug De-Addiction Centres (DAC) of ten bedded strength at hospitals in all the districts of the state. Subsequently this facility will be extended to all Sub Divisional level hospitals.

She told the House that a 50 bedded state Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (SDDTC) would be set up at the Medical College in Amritsar.


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