Buoyed by the success rate of the Swami Vivekanand De-addiction Centre in weaning away a number of addicts from drugs and providing them the necessary medical treatment, the Punjab government has decided to set up four more such centres in the state.
These centres will be set up at Talwandi Sabo, Patiala, Jalandhar and Faridkot. Like the Swami Vivekanand Centre on the premises of the government medical college here, these centres too will treat addicts free of cost.
This announcement was made by deputy commissioner Rajat Aggarwal while inaugurating a de-addiction counselling centre in Maqboolpura locality of the city on Thursday. Maqboolpura is one of the worst drug-hit areas of Punjab. A couple of years back, it had the largest concentration of addicts. However, with the efforts of the district administration and some dedicated social workers, the situation has undergone a change.
Talking to the media after the inauguration, Aggarwal said that free counselling would be provided to addicts and their families. The motive behind setting up this centre is to wean away addicts from drugs and give them an insight on how to lead a happy and healthy family life, he added.
"While it is the duty of the law-enforcing agencies to check the flow of drugs into the state and take action against those involved in the sale of drugs, the menace of addiction can only be tackled through joint efforts by the administration and community leaders," said Aggarwal.
Turning to the Swami Vivekanand Centre, the DC said that since its inception in April 2011, around 1,500 drug addicts had been treated at the centre free of cost. Currently, there are 25 patients under treatment in this 50-bed centre, while another 50 addicts are under medication.
"Each day, around 100 persons who had been using intravenous drugs come for medicines to this centre," the DC stated.
The DC pointed out that the centre, besides providing free medicines and food, also takes care of the recreation of patients, for which a television had been provided. There is also a gymnasium where patients on the road to recovery can exercise and get their bodies in shape.
Others who were present on the occasion included deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Kaustabh Sharma, civil surgeon Dr Yash Mitra, district social welfare officer NS Pannu and Dr PD Garg of government medical college, Amritsar.