The Punjab government on Monday informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that in 2014-15, as many as three lakh drug users approached de-addiction centres as outdoor patients and more than 13,000 were admitted in various such centres across the state.
Chief Secretary Sarvesh Kaushal told the patients in drug de-addiction centres shall also have the support of Ayurvedic and homoeopathy doctors for providing better treatment. Kaushal added that although as per the Punjab School Education Board some chapters are there in the existing school syllabus highlighting the harmful effects of drug use, the Board has been directed to take a fresh look at the school syllabus and to make efforts to improve it further so as to create more awareness on the issue.
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The information was submitted in response to a contempt of court petition filed by Advocate H C Arora alleging that health secretary Vini Mahajan had not complied with the directions issued by the High Court in August last year for taking a decision on his representation seeking treatment of drug addicts through the homoeopathic and ayurvedic system. The petitioner had also sought directions to the PSEB to include chapters in school syllabus about the harmful effects of drugs.
Replying to the petitioner’s submissions that the Ayurvedic and Homeopathic medicines are much better than Allopathic medicines, which are habit forming, the Chief Secretary accepted that for treatment of addicts of alcohol, opium, cannabis and tobacco, the Ayurvedic Medical Officers would be included in the treatment to use their services in addition to allopathic drugs. The court was informed that similarly, there are some medicines in homeopathy that can be used for drug addicts and they are helpful in managing withdrawal symptoms.
The petitioner had also informed the court that he had also made a prayer to the state government to evolve a comprehensive policy for rehabilitation of drug abuse victims which is quite essential as a long-term measure for eradication of drug menace.
The case will come up for hearing on September 1.