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Punjab govt launches drive to screen prison inmates for drug abuse

The brainchild of Punjab jails minister Harjot Singh Bains, the state-wide drug screening project aims to make prisons free of illegal drugs besides providing provisions to inmates, who are addicts, to undergo de-addiction.

drug abuse, punjab, inidan expressUnder the pilot project, the Rupnagar District Jail has successfully conducted screening of all 950 inmates. (Express photo by Gurmeet Singh/File)

In order to make prisons in the state free of illegal drugs and give inmates the option to undergo de-addiction and rehabilitation, the Punjab government Sunday launched a drug screening drive to determine drug abuse among inmates.

Under the pilot project, the Rupnagar District Jail has successfully conducted screening of all 950 inmates. The screening was conducted in the presence of special DGP (prisons) Harpreet Sing Sidhu, IG Roop Kumar, DIG Surinder Singh and jail superintendent Kulwant Singh. The results of the screening drive will be available within a day after which further action would be initiated.

The brainchild of Punjab jails minister Harjot Singh Bains, the project will cover all prisons in the state. “It is for the first time that such an extensive drive has been taken up to cover the entire inmates of a prison for drug screening on a single day… This project will help in identifying inmates with substance use disorders and are not yet undergoing treatment at clinics/de-addiction facilities established within the prison system,” Bains said.

“With a view to making these persons undergo de-addiction treatment, FIRs will also be lodged under section 27 of the NDPS Act in case any such person found consuming illegal narcotics,” said the minister, while adding that the jails department will also request the investigation and prosecution authorities to enforce section 64A of the NDPS Act. He said this will provide such inmates an opportunity to get themselves treated and avail immunity from prosecution through the court.

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The minister said the jails department further aims to involve experts in improving de-addiction treatment, peer support and counselling facilities for inmates in jails. The police will be requested to conduct a thorough investigation into all cases registered under this drive to plug any loopholes in the prison system regarding illegal drug supply, he added.

First published on: 11-07-2022 at 22:14 IST
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