Treat drug-addicts as patients, not offenders: BVR urges Police, Admin

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SRINAGAR: The top bureaucrat of the state today urged the civil and police administration of Jammu and Kashmir to adopt a more humanitarian approach while dealing with patients of substance abuse, the number of whom are increasing alarmingly in recent past, even as the top health department official said that the state’s maiden drug de-addiction policy will be announced “soon”.

“Victims of substance abuse should be treated as patients who need care and not as offenders or culprits. We have to reach out to them by adopting a humanitarian approach and counseling them in order to eradicate the menace of substance abuse. The victims should be rehabilitated properly and returned to the society without scars of past,” Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said while speaking at a function organised by SKIMS Medical College Bemina to commemorate the National Anti Drug-Addiction Day.

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Subrahmanyam stressed the civil and police administration to create awareness among the masses about the harmful effects of substance abuse. He called for strict and coordinated action against the people involved in selling banned drugs to youngsters.

“Drug industry fuels a whole criminal class which can destroy the foundations of a civilised society. We are witnessing lots of cases in J&K where consignments of banned drugs are seized,” he said.

The Chief Secretary said the state of Jammu and Kashmir is doing reasonably well in terms of economic condition of the society, “No one sleeps with empty stomach in Kashmir but people, especially youngsters, get trapped due to apparent lack of growth and avenues in this low-prosperity stage and that is when they can fall for drugs,” he said.

Principal Secretary, Health and Medical Education, Atal Dulloo, said the substance abuse is a multi-dimensional phenomenon with social, legal, economic and medical ramification, “It needs serious attention. The state will soon have a drug de-addiction policy which will focus on three things: prevention by awareness, integration and strengthening of facilities of drug de-addiction and community rehabilitation,” he said.