Amarinder Singh writes to PM for uniform national drug policy

Drawing PM`s attention towards the problem of drug addiction across India, Congress Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Amarinder Singh asked him to take steps for formulating a uniform national drug policy.

Chandigarh: Drawing Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s attention towards the problem of drug addiction across India, especially Punjab, Congress Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Amarinder Singh today asked him to take steps for formulating a uniform national drug policy to deal with the menace.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Singh said, "Without a coordinated effort by various states under the guidance of the Centre, it is not possible to eradicate this problem that is eating into the vitals of our younger generation."

Expressing lack of faith in Punjab government, he said, "I do not have much faith in, and any expectations from Punjab government as it has been sitting on this matter for a long time for reasons best known to the Chief Minister. And the situation has now reached a stage that according to some surveys, 70 per cent of youth in Punjab have tried drugs once in a while and many of them have fallen prey to its addiction."
The Amritsar MP said during his tenure as the Chief Minister of Punjab, he repeatedly argued for formulating a national drug policy at the chief ministers conferences, which even Modi attended as Gujarat Chief Minister.

"But unfortunately even after the passage of over a decade nothing has been done so far," he said.

"Today the drug addiction has mostly afflicted my state Punjab. Tomorrow, it may spread across the country and it will be difficult to curb it, if and when, it assumes epidemic proportions," he warned.

He said there were three sources of drugs supply to Punjab.
"One comes from across the border. Our security forces at the borders have been keeping a check on these but still some parts manage to enter India," he said.

The second type of drugs, he said, were the ones produced in Madhya Pradesh where there is no restriction on growing poppy and selling opium.

"It then travels to Rajasthan where it is legally traded. Since Punjab is on the border with Rajasthan, it becomes a lucrative market. The relative affluence of people in Punjab also makes them easy targets of drug trade," he said.

The third type of drugs, he stated, were produced locally, which are called synthetic drugs.

"These are cheaply produced within Punjab and are easily available," he said.

He said although there was a total ban on growing or
trading poppy or its products in Punjab, it hardly served any purpose as long as it was not banned in the states where it can be freely produced and traded.

"And this is the reason I am calling for an urgent initiative on your part to formulate a uniform National Drug Policy that would be applicable across the country," he said.

He said regardless of what Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal says, the state lacks the resources to equip and maintain drug addiction centres, as in some cases patients require over a year of treatment.

"GOI will be required to fund and operate these centres in conjunction with Punjab, to ensure that GOI funds are not diverted, which seems to happen often under this government," he alleged.

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