Rs 20-crore drugs consumed daily in state, says study : The Tribune India

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Rs 20-crore drugs consumed daily in state, says study

CHANDIGARH: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s claim that 70 per cent of the youths in Punjab are drug addicts has been proven wrong in the latest AIIMS-assisted drug survey in the state.



Jupinderjit Singh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s claim that 70 per cent of the youths in Punjab are drug addicts has been proven wrong in the latest AIIMS-assisted drug survey in the state. But, the study also belies the claims of the Parkash Singh Badal-led SAD-BJP government of providing the best health and reformation services to addicts.

As per the report, four in 100 in the age group of 18-35 were opioid-dependent while 15 in 100 could be opiod users. Opioid is a broad term which includes all kinds of drug. Rahul’s claims in October 2011 had Stirred up a row, in which the SAD was left isolated even by its coalition partner BJP.

The study claims there is a huge business of drugs. It claims Rs 20-crore drugs are consumed daily and Rs 7,575 crore every year. This is higher than the Rs 6,000-crore annual drug smuggling business claimed by alleged drug smuggler Jagdish Singh Bhola.

Interestingly, the study states that if drug addicts start pooling their money, they can clear the Rs 70,000-crore debt of state farmers in less than 10 years. Punjab pays a pension of Rs 7,182 crore per year to its retired employees.

The study underlines that though 80 per cent of the addicts tried to leave drugs at some point of time, only 35 per cent got medical help. Further, just eight per cent got help last year.

The revelations question the massive drive by the Akali government against drug addicts in which 57,150 persons were arrested for possessing or smuggling drugs. The study says only a miniscule percentage of the accused was jailed but there too, they kept receiving drugs.

The study titled Punjab Opiod Dependence Survey (PODS) was commissioned to Society for the Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM) by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE), which is headed by BJP MP Vijay Sampla. The report says the study was conducted with the help of team of researchers from National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). The Punjab Department of Health and Family Welfare collaborated with the study.

The study was carried in ten districts –Bathinda-Gurdaspur, Ferozepur, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Moga, Patiala, Sangrur and Tarn Taran.

It said estimated there were 2.3 lakh drug users in the state. About 99 per cent were male and 54 per cent were married. Almost 90 per cent had attained some degree of formal education and most of them were employed.

The most commonly used drug was heroin with 53 per cent saying they consumed it. Thirty-three per cent used drugs through injections. Only about 35 of the 80 authorised organisations reported they had the facility to provide in-patient treatment.

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