86,371 new drug addicts registered for treatment in Punjab

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], May 11 (ANI): A total of 86,371 new patients have been registered for treatment at 198 Outpatient Opioid Assisted Treatment (OOAT) clinics including private ones in Punjab.

In the war against drugs, 5,00,552 patients have been treated at OOAT clinics, de-addiction centres and private centres till May 6, said an official release by the state's Information and Public Relations Department.

Special Task Force (STF) Chief-cum-ADGP Harpreet Singh Sidhu said that OOAT clinic programme is a complete success and one of the most prominent efforts in de-addiction treatment across the world.

"Due to improved registration at OOAT clinics, duration of take-home medication was increased to 21 days which gave a major relief to the patients as well as a respite to the staff. The OOAT model provides for medication-counselling-peer support services in an outpatient clinic", he said.

The STF chief further informed that the Drug Abuse Prevention Officers (DAPO) programme launched by the Punjab government supervises community activities for preventing drug abuse in their neighbourhood and to link the drug users with the de-addiction treatment centres.

According to the release, approximately, 5.43 lakh DAPOs have already been registered out of which 88,710 are officials and 4,54,332 are private citizens.

Sidhu said the STF has designed 'Comprehensive Action against Drug Abuse (CADA)' strategy which is based on Enforcement-Deaddiction-Prevention (EDP) approach.

"It is a 360-degree approach to controlling drug abuse in the state and seeks to synergise the efforts of all Government Departments as well as enlist the active participation of all sections of the society to control the menace of drug/intoxicant abuse," he said.

Sidhu revealed that 14,90,516 persons have been made aware of the ill-effects of drug abuse.

"Besides, 2,05,619 drug abuse victims have been contacted out of which 98,278 victims have been sent to de-addiction/OOAT centres so far," he said.

The STF chief further informed that 'Buddy Program' initiated by the force is aimed at protecting school children, college/university students and youth from drug abuse.

"Under this initiative, approximately 15,976 educational institutions have been covered so far in which 37,36,718 students took active participation. Apart from this, 12,124 nodal officers, 1,27,146 senior buddies and 7,48,926 buddy groups have also been appointed/formed. In addition to this, 37,24,090 students formed into buddy groups and 6,28,606 programs/activities have conducted so far," reads the release. (ANI)