This Article is From Jun 09, 2016

Does Punjab Have A Drug Menace? Ask This Rehabilitation Centre in Mohali

Drug addiction is a menace across Punjab and patients come from all over -- Gurdaspur, Hoshiyarpur, Jallandhar, Mohali and Chandigarh -- said Jagjit Singh.


  • De-addiction centres in Punjab are seeing a glut of patients
  • The Badal government has trashed claims of rising number of addicts
  • Patients contradict government, say drug use is on the rise in Punjab
Mohali: The Parkash Singh Badal government's objections about the film Udta Punjab notwithstanding, the drug menace in Punjab is very evident on the ground. The de-addiction centres are thriving, with a continuous inflow of patients. And patients agree that addiction is on the rise, NDTV found.  

At a rehabilitation center in Mohali run by a non-profit, NDTV found a number of patients - their ages ranged from 13 to 60. The majority, though, were in the 18 to 35 age group.

The patients do not agree with the state government's contention that drug usage is not on the rise.

"Who says there is no drugs menace in Punjab? It is everywhere. Even children are selling drugs to earn money to fund their addiction," said a 25-year-old man who became addicted while pursuing an engineering degree in Bathinda.

Another patient, a student of Class 12, came all the way to Punjab from Jammu to buy drugs. "I came to Amritsar, Jallandhar for drugs. I used to call peddlers and they used to come. In parts of Pathankot, drugs can be bought in at many houses," he told NDTV.

The Parkash Singh Badal government has trashed claims of rising number of drug addicts in the state. Health minister Surjit Jyani said there aren't enough patients in government-run de addiction centres. Still, the government claims to have spent Rs 180 crore on them. "But there are no patients. The issue is being exaggerated," Mr Jyani had said.

"Gurdaspur, Hoshiyarpur, Jallandhar, Mohali, Chandigarh... they (the patients) are coming from all over Punjab," said Jagjit Singh, in charge of the Rahat Foundation which runs the rehabilitation centre. Singh, a judoka, had fought addiction for 9 years. Drugs ruined his career in sports.

The government has raised strong objections about the title and content of Udta Punjab -- a film on the drug menace faced by the state. And with the assembly elections due in the state next year, the matter has become politicised. The drug menace is one of the key planks of the opposition campaign against the Akali-BJP government.