In what it is terming a decisive war against drugs, the Amarinder Singh-led state government is set to create an army of volunteers who will act as observers for addicts undergoing rehabilitation besides working as police informers.
A a detailed presentation in this regard was given to the CM by the newly formed special task force (STF) headed by additional director general of police (ADGP) Harpreet Sidhu in the presence of senior officials of education, health and panchayati raj departments.
These volunteers will be named ‘drug abuse prevention officers’ (DAPOs) who will create awareness among the youth to stay away from drugs.
As per the STF plan, members of zila parishads and block samitis, sarpanches, panches, councillors, government and private teachers, patwaris, professors, panchayat secretaries, multi-purpose health workers and nambardars will be trained as DAPOs by a special trainers.
“The idea is to take this programme to every household. The DAPOs will further create a group in their areas and provide training to others as how to work as volunteers. The countries that have reduced drug use drastically have this model as the battle against drugs cannot be fought through breaking the supply chain only,” Sidhu said.
The CM instructed the Punjab chief secretary to go ahead with the project and ordered to set up a committee comprising the principal secretary social security; principal secretary health and family welfare; principal secretary education and secretary sports to finalise a detailed government plan to go ahead with the STF proposals.
The project also provides for involving ex-servicemen, government servants, farmers and doctors who through various seminars and programmes will work as government resource persons.
“If you involve all these groups, it means we will reach to at least 10 lakh stakeholders through this drive. Even if we attain 10% success rate of the programme due to various factors, we will get an army of 1 lakh volunteers, who would work free of cost in the coming years,” Sidhu told the CM.
A three-tier training programme for DAPOs will be put in place. It will include a two-day state-level training to 200 master trainers and district wise training to trainer teams. A trainer team would comprise police officers and NGO representatives.
“We are not going to burden anybody involved in this programme. It’s just about sparing some time from one’s routine to build a social network to have any automatic surveillance on drug users and suppliers,” he said.