Punjab effect? Centre plans survey on drug abuse

With a view to check increasing drug abuse among youths, the government would conduct a nationwide survey on use of narcotics and take stock of shortcomings in de-addiction programs in various states.

The survey, expected to begin by December, will be conducted by National Sample Survey Organisation, which will collect data on drug users, various types of contraband and corrective measures in place in various states.

"There is an alarming increase in drug consumption among youths in several states. We have already highlighted the problems with governments of Punjab, Manipur and some other states. The survey will provide necessary authentic data to deal with the problem," a top official in Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry told PTI here.

The survey is expected to be over by early next year.

On the estimated number of drug users in the country, he said, "Unfortunately, there is no accurate data available on this. Whatever we have are guessworks from several different agencies and NGOs."

Due to lack of authentic data, the de-addiction programmes in these states have failed to meet their targets, he said. Citing the examples of Punjab and Manipur, the official said, "We have asked these states to treat the problem of drug abuse on top priority. The intervention programmes in these states have been unable to deal with the magnitude of the problem."

SJ&E Ministry recently wrote to the Punjab government in this regard and held a meeting with senior state officials to discuss various ways to deal with the problem.

The social justice ministry had launched a programme in 10 districts of Punjab which have high prevalence of drug users. "There is a need to restart the de-addiction programme in Punjab. So far we have covered 10 districts there but the new programme, which is being planned, will cover the entire state," the official said.

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