Punjab Minister of Health and Family Welfare Surjit Kumar Jayani Sunday claimed that only 1 per cent of the state’s population was addicted to drugs. Drug addiction is not as serious a problem as is being projected to defame the state, he added.
In Amritsar for a function to mark International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Jayani said, “An AIIMS study has proved that it was false propaganda of the Congress and its vice-president Rahul Gandhi to say that 70 per cent of the state’s youths are drug addicts. On the basis of a survey conducted in 10 districts, AIIMS found that there are only 1.8 per cent addicts. If it conducts the survey in all 22 districts, the percentage would go down to one. Only 1 per cent of the people are addicts.”
Last week, Vijay Sampla, Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment and Punjab BJP chief, had claimed that less than 1 per cent of the state’s population were addicts. However, he had said the AIIMS report on drugs was “not authentic”, and that the sample size for the study in Punjab was very small. Sampla’s ministry rejected the report.
Elaborating his point, Jayani said, “The low number of drug addicts in Punjab can be explained by the number of patients at deaddiction centres. We have arrangements for 2,200 beds in such centres across the state, but we have only 250 patients. The other beds are empty. If the problem is that serious, as claimed by opposition parties, then all the beds should be occupied.”