The Punjab government today claimed that there was a "remarkable" increase in patients at the Outpatient Opioid Assisted Treatment (OOATs) centres between June and July, an official spokesperson said.
The official spokesperson, who said the OOATs centres were witnessing excellent response to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's appeal to people to join the government's efforts to wipe out the drug menace from the state.
Yesterday, the number of new patients to be registered in the OOAT centres was 681.
Further, the average footfall in the OOATs has increased from 2,345 patients per day (old and new) in June to 4,408 patients per day (old and new) in July. Yesterday, the total footfall in the OOAT centres (old and new) was 6,673.
While announcing a slew of strong measures to crack down on drug smugglers and peddlers, the chief minister, in the past two weeks, issued a series of appeals through various media to the people to overcome the social stigma attached to drugs and come forward for treatment and cure of their family members affected by drugs, spokesperson said.
The chief minister, however, said he did not favour lynching or any other form of violence as a means to tackle the drug problem.
Reiterating his appeal to the people today, Singh urged them not to take the law into their hands but to help the state government and the police and other agencies by providing information that could lead to the arrest of drug smugglers and seizures of drugs and harmful concoctions that were believed to be causing deaths among youth.
He also exhorted the victims and their families not to shy away from approaching the de-addiction, treatment and rehabilitation centres for help.
The chief minister also reiterated his directives to the police not to harass the victims, and not to enter the centres to question the patients.
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