Chandigarh, Jul 30: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday directed the three-member committee constituted to probe the missing 5 crore tablets of de-addiction drug buprenorphine naloxone to expedite its investigation.

The committee, set up on June 29, comprises Special Task Force chief Harpreet Singh Sidhu, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu and Director, Health Services, Avneet Kaur, as per an official release here.

Last year, 5 crore tablets of buprenorphine, a scheduled drug, had reportedly gone missing from the private drug de-addiction centres. Chairing a video conference meeting to review Drug De-addiction and Treatment Infrastructure, the CM asked the STF on drugs to expand the outreach of the outpatient Opioid Assisted Treatment (OOAT) clinics in order to ensure timely and proper treatment and care to drug addicts.

The state currently has 190 government OOAT centres, in addition to 119 private de-addiction centres and another nine centres in jails. A total of 5,50,907 patients were admitted to these centres from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020.

The months of April and May 2020 had witnessed a major spike in admissions as supply of drugs and other substances was cut off due to the lockdown. The CM underscored the importance of counselling for youth at these centres, pointing out that psychological support could prove vital to ensure their treatment and cure.

Reiterating his commitment to the elimination of drugs into the state, the CM said while the backbone of the drugs mafia had been broken and many big fish also nabbed, the growing narco-terrorism from across the border was a matter of concern.

Coupled with smuggling of drugs from other states into Punjab, this was becoming a major challenge, he said, calling for cohesive and collective efforts by all the concerned departments to crack down on the drugs problem.

Source: PTI