Employees Failing Dope Test to be Given Treatment NOT Punishment – Punjab Govt

In apparent move to soften his stance on dope tests for government staff, including policemen, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday clarified that government employees found positive in dope tests will not be punished or sacked but will be provided treatment and their identity will be kept confidential.

Chairing a review meeting of the cabinet sub-committee set up to monitor the progress of the government’s anti-drug campaign, he directed the Chief Secretary to formulate guidelines for conducting dope tests for employees and cops.

Captain Amarinder also ordered various steps to further augment the government’s efforts to ensure strict enforcement of the drug laws, as well as better systems for prevention, de-addiction and rehabilitation.

SHOs have been made accountable to make villages in their respective areas free of the drug menace in a time-bound manner. He also ordered that pendancy of drug-related cases be expedited. The SDMs and DSPs, along with the SHOs concerned, have been made accountable to ensure that their respective areas are totally drug-free, he said.

The Chief Minister said the government will pay for the treatment of drug addicts who cannot afford to pay for the same at government hospitals.

The Chief Minister also ordered Increase in OTTs and enhancement of capacity at the de-addiction centres to effectively address the needs of the drug addicts coming in for rehabilitation. Private clinics should be roped in to boost the strength of the OTTs, he directed the Health Department.

He asked Cabinet ministers to visit various their respective districts and hold meetings with the officers concerned, NGOs and the civil society to open a political and civil discourse on the issue.

While Punjab has an inherent problem with drugs, it is also an established fact that Pakistan has a strong hand to play in this. A 2016 AIIMS report said that the country is responsible for smuggling in drugs worth Rs 7,500 crore into Punjab each year. Indian authorities have previously warned Pakistan of putting an end to this with Home Minister Rajnath Singh even threatening strong action if the peddling continues from across the border.

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