HC directs Punjab govt to evolve policy for saving lives of drug addicts

A division bench of the Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday directed the state government to evolve a policy for saving the lives of drug addicts in rural Punjab by involving gram panchayats in identification of the victims.

The high court bench of chief justice Krishna Murari and justice Arun Palli was responding to a public interest litigation which suggested that members of panchayats can help in persuading parents to get their drug addict children admitted to de-addiction centres.

The high court bench has put state on notice on the PIL. The court impressed upon the government law officer that sarpanches and panches are in a better position to identify drug addicts than government servants or police.

The petitioner lawyer, HC Arora, in his PIL had enumerated the cases of 20 drug addicts, who have died recently due to self-injection of adulterated drugs etc, which was evidenced by the fact that syringes was lying nearby their bodies, and their parents also admitted that their children was taking drugs.

The court was told that increased pressure on drug peddlers, and breaking down the supply lines of drugs, the addicts are killing themselves in dire frustration by injecting themselves with killer drugs. However, the government has not bothered to take active measures to save their lives.

The parents of drug addicts are also found averse to get their addict children admitted to de-addiction centres, for fear of adverse publicity. Hence, the role of gram panchayats is of paramount importance in persuading them for the treatment of their children, the court was told.

He also demanded that treatment of such addicts in de-addiction centres should be free of cost. The court was told that government de-addiction centres run by District Red Cross Societies are charging around ₹3,000 each for indoor treatment of drug addict for a period of 45 days.

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