Chandigarh, July 16

The Punjab government will hire retired government psychiatrists to deal with the rush of drug addicts at de-addiction centres across the state, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Monday.

The Chief Minister said the government's anti-drug campaign will include employment and empanelment of full-time and part-time private psychiatrists.

At his weekly review meeting of the Cabinet Sub-Committee set up to monitor the anti-drug measures, the CM also directed the departments to ensure security of drug addicts and their families coming to the de-addiction and rehabilitation centres. The officials have been told to go for a holistic media campaign to spread awareness about drugs, said a spokesman.

"The Chief Minister also asked district authorities to crack down on centres selling various over-the-counter drugs in violation of rules," the spokesman said.

The CM has asked the Chief Secretary to approach the Union Ministry of Social Empowerment and Justice for financial grant for setting up additional private de-addiction centres in the state to complement the state government's efforts.

Ministers in-charge of the districts have been told to hold regular meetings, along with the legislators, to keep a strict vigil over the treatment and medical care facilities being extended to the drug addicts at government drug de-addiction and rehab centres.

The Chief Minister also directed immediate inspection of the existing private de-addiction centres to ensure that they are equipped with adequate infrastructure.

"If the district authorities think that a de-addiction centre does not meet the minimum standards or is not providing all the required services in the prescribed manner, the same may be recommended for closure," he added.

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