Reacting to a letter sent by Patiala MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi which says that addicts should be given supervised dose of poppy husk free of cost at district and tehsil level, Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh has asked health minister Punjab to study this and other suggestions in the letter written on June 27. Heads of a few de-addiction centres have also given the same suggestion to the CM. Punjab farmers too have been demanding nod to pursue cultivation of poppy husk.
Dr Gandhi had suggested that addicts should be provided poppy husk as medicine at district and tehsil level and even at civil hospitals so that it can act as a substitute to the lethal drugs like heroin and smack. He also urged for proper record keeping of all drugs related deaths or suicides so as to know the real reason behind the deaths.
Dr Gandhi while talking to The Indian Express said,”Deaths due to drugs should be registered in records, so that a data can be maintained rather than hiding it for political reasons. Such figures can be helpful in fighting the drug menace. Strict action needs to be taken against the drug smugglers as well.”
On July 17, CM wrote back to Dr Gandhi saying that his suggestions in the letter dated Jane 27 have been forwarded to the Health Minister Punjab. Dr Inderjit Singh, who runs a de-addiction centre in Ludhiana, has also wrote a letter to the CM giving a similar suggestion on poppy husk. Sources revealed that CMO has also sent a letter to Government of India seeking suggestions from then regarding use of poppy husk for palliative care of addicts.
Dr Rajeev Gupta, a Ludhiana-based psychiatrist, said,” I am not for this suggestion, though it sounds interesting as a political statement. It is difficult to control use of husk in a country like India as ultimately, opium, morphine and later heroin can be made from the same product using different steps. It can land Punjab in another disaster. Hence, cutting supply chain of drugs and treatment of patients in de-addiction centres is the best way to fight drug menace.”