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Drug control: EC shows how it’s done, earns wrath of addicts

The Election Commission (EC) may have won plaudits for its constant monitoring in poll-bound Punjab but poppy husk addicts in the state are looking forward to the end of the EC vigil.  The reason: the round-the-clock monitoring has resulted in the seizure of about 18,577 kg of poppy husk. Such has been the effect, that, […]

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
April 30, 2014 11:57:43 am

The Election Commission (EC) may have won plaudits for its constant monitoring in poll-bound Punjab but poppy husk addicts in the state are looking forward to the end of the EC vigil.  The reason: the round-the-clock monitoring has resulted in the seizure of about 18,577 kg of poppy husk.

Such has been the effect, that, according to doctors, the number of those reporting to the de-addiction centres has increased in the last fortnight.

The scenario is the worst in the hinterlands of Malwa. “We used to get 80 to 100 opiate addicts in our OPD. But now the number has increased to 300,” said Dr Nidhi Gupta at a drug de-addiction centre in Bathinda. She added the spike was witnessed during the last one month and the doctors were shocked.  A similar situation prevails in Sangrur de-addiction centre. It also speaks volumes about the magnitude of drug menace in state?a major poll issue this time.

The EC monitoring also raises important questions on why and how the menace was allowed to continue unabated.  “Till a month ago, poppy husk was sold here freely for Rs 800 to 1,000 a kg. But now it is either not available or is sold for Rs 4,000 to 5,000,” said Gurtej Singh, a resident of Manghanian village in Malwa. He said all the addicts he knew were not able to get up due to withdrawal symptoms owing to scarcity of poppy husk.

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