Punjab Govt mulls to brings policy for decriminalization of drug use

Drug addicts caught with meagre quantity will be treated and rehabilitated, says Dr.Balbir Singh

Team Parvasi – Inside

Punjab Govt mulls to brings policy for decriminalization of drug use

Chandigarh, June 21, 2023: Taking forward the commitment of the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to treat every drug addict like a patient and deal with them sympathetically, Punjab Government is mulling to bring a policy for decriminalization of the drug use, said Punjab Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Balbir Singh here on Wednesday.

“Decriminalisation doesn’t mean that drugs will get legalised, it will continue to remain illegal. Under this policy, drug addicts or patients of substance use disorders— caught with meagre amount of drugs— will be sent to de-addiction centres for their treatment and rehabilitation instead of putting them into the jails,” he said, while maintaining that drug smugglers/peddlers would be dealt by the Police with iron hand.

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The Health Minister accompanied by Minister for Social Justice, Empowerment and Minorities, Social Security, Women and Child Development Dr Baljit Kaur was presiding over an “Experts Meeting on Mental Health Issues and Interventions in Punjab” organised by the Punjab Health and Family Welfare Department in which prominent speakers including Professor from AIIMS Delhi Dr Atul Ambekar and Professor and Head Department of Psychiatry in PGI Dr Debashish Basu participated.

Dr Balbir Singh further said that the problem of drug abuse has affected a large number of the population in Punjab and has created a barrier in the progress and development of the state. “Our government is committed to make Punjab a ‘Rangla Punjab’ as desired by the CM Bhagwant Mann,” he said.

He said that the Punjab Government has been working on formulation and implementation of a policy under which a multi-pronged and multi-disciplinary approach will be used to tackle the situation on utmost priority.

“We are planning to rope in all the departments including Social Security, Youth Affairs and Education to work in tandem with the Health department to fight the drug menace,” he said, while adding that they will also involve the Employment Generation and Skill Development department which will help the rehabilitated patients to inculcate skills and provide jobs to help bring them back to the mainstream life.

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