The Faridkot police and a special team of the health department from Chandigarh along with health officials from the district on Saturday raided chemist shops at Faridkot and Kotkapura under the supervision of the state drug control authority. The joint teams raided certain chemist shops at same time to ensure that the action bears the desired result.
However, some chemist shops and residences of owners were found locked immediately after they came to know about the raids. "Shops and houses of their owners were found locked, but we insisted on opening the locks to allow search teams enter the premises. We told them that if they did not allow us in, we will procure special search warrants and get the shops opened in the presence of magistrate," said a senior police officer.
The district police had formed about six teams, accompanied by the district health officials, to conduct raids at various shops, which were suspected to be selling drugs/intoxicants such as cough syrups and tablets having psychotropic properties.
"We conducted raids on shops after tracking their past record and on special tip-offs. It must act as a deterrent on the sale of intoxicants," said Gurpreet Singh Toor, senior superintendent of police, Faridkot. "We want people with psychological problems to visit psychiatrists rather than seeking solace in habit-forming drugs. The shops, which are found violating rules, will be sealed," the SSP said.
"The district police are also keeping watch over the houses chemist shops' owner. Ironically, some of the houses were found locked with residents inside," claimed a police source.
The joint teams also raided a shop near the new bus stand and another one on Duarena Road, which are "infamous" for selling drugs. Cases had been registered against them in the past. It took the raiding team some time to get the locks of the shop at Duarena Road opened and to enter the premises.
"The search and recovery at a particular shop at Faridkot is still going on and teams are engaged in raids," said a health department official.
A special team of the health department from Chandigarh with six members had joined police teams besides the district health employees and district drug inspector Tejinder Singh, said Dr Rakesh Arora, civil surgeon, Faridkot. "No chemist shops will be allowed to sell drugs illegally."
Meanwhile, there was no clarity on the registration of any case or recovery made from the chemist shops till going to Press.
'20% addicts seek remedy on their own'
"Lomotil tops the list of drugs being sold illegally, followed by cough syrups and analgesic capsules. However, Lomotil is not available nowadays and people use its substitute, which cost less than Rs 10 for a strip of 100 tablets. They also buy it from the particular people for Rs 30 to Rs 50," said Dr Harish Arora, head of psychiatry department, GGS Medical College, Faridkot.
Dr Arora added that, "Less than 20% drug addicts visit us on their own, while the rest are brought to us in emergency when they failed to get drugs or suffer from overdose." Their mental condition is not stable, he said, adding that de-addiction is possible but it requires motivation and strong will power.
"There is high prevalence of drug abuse in the Malwa belt and people take drugs according to their financial status. The rich consume heroin, followed by the less income group who take opium and the poor take tobacco products and poppy husk. We have an excellent drug de-addiction centre in the area," Dr Arora said.