Addicts say crackdown on drugs forces them to join rehab

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Amritsar
  • Updated: Jul 08, 2015 23:05 IST

With the Punjab government’s ongoing drive resulting in consistent seizure of narcotics across the state, it has not only led to scarcity of drugs in the market, but has also led many addicts to join rehabilitation centres, claimed recovering addicts.

Narrating their stories, many youngsters, who are recovering from the drug addiction at Hermitage, a rehabilitation centre, said there was a need to open more rehabilitation centres across the state to ensure that once de-addicted nobody goes back to drugs.

During a seminar organised by Dr JS Bhatia, in which police commissioner JS Aulakh and deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Parampal Singh were also invited, recovering addict Gurpartap Singh said, “I was a heroin addict and needed it badly. However, getting heroin became very tough in the city due to police crackdown, and thus, I was left with no option, but treatment. The state government’s drive against the drug menace helped me join a rehabilitation centre and my life changed completely thereafter.”

In his address Dr Bhatia, who is an expert in the field of de-addiction, said, “As soon as a patient comes to us, we question them about the reason behind leaving drugs. Today, a majority of the patients tell that the scarcity of drugs has left them with no option. This is the reason we have called police officers here to laud their efforts and to urge them that they need to keep the pressure on.”

Dr Bhatia said, “Nearly 35-40% decrease has been noticed in the number of patients consuming heroin and the main reason is non-availability or high cost due to the scarcity. There is a need to maintain the scarcity.”

Terming the politicisation of drug issue as unfortunate, Dr Bhatia said, “It is unfortunate for police and the government to check the drug menace when society is in denial mode. We need to understand that an addict is a patient and we must work together for his recovery.”

Promising that the police crackdown on drugs will stay and no laxity on drug issues will be tolerated, the police commissioner said, “Following the guidelines of director general of police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini and the state government, a drive against the drug menace was launched. And so far, we have registered 1,488 cases, nabbed 1,790 persons and seized 30 kg heroin, 171 kg narcotic powder, 20 pistols and revolvers, 137 vehicles and over Rs 26 lakh cash. This underlines the work done by police.”

“We have adopted ‘zero tolerance’ against drugs and all station house officers (SHOs) have been strictly told that they will be held accountable if they adopted a lax approach towards it. A lot of effort has gone into cleaning up things and we will not allow this ugly monster to raise its heads again,” said Aulakh.

Meanwhile, the DCP and District Akali Dal chief Upkar Sandhu also shared their views on the issue.

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