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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Free aid at 150 health centres

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, June 19, 2014
First Published: 13:49 IST(19/6/2014) | Last Updated: 13:52 IST(19/6/2014)

On its toes ever since the drug menace became a major poll issue, the Punjab government on Wednesday unveiled a de-addiction and rehabilitation plan.

Announcing the measures a day before going abroad for two weeks on a private visit, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said that under the programme addicts would be given free medicines and treatment at 150 community health centres across the state. “Once they are de-addicted, they will also be offered indoor rehabilitation facilities with 600 beds being created for this purpose in government medical colleges as well as private hospitals. Trained doctors having expertise in de-addiction will deal with the addicts,” Sukhbir said at a press conference, admitting that “drugs is a problem”. He had, before the Lok Sabha polls, been stressing that the issue was being overhyped.

Accompanied by chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal, the deputy CM said the chief secretary would oversee the plan. “We have appointed additional director general of police (ADGP) Dinkar Gupta and health secretary Vini Mahajan as the nodal officers.”

He further said arrangements would be made by the police to get addicts to the health centres and back to their villages daily till they were certified to have been de-addicted. There is also a proposal to set up 22 rehabilitation centres to cover all districts.

Going into the crime aspect, the deputy CM said the government was taking up the matter with the high court to set up special courts for speedy disposal of drugs cases.

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