Punjab minister of health Surjit Kumar Jayani on Sunday said only 1% of the total population in the state is addicted to drugs. He said it is not a serious problem as it is being projected to defame the state. Jayani rubbished all claims made by the Opposition, saying that there are 2,200 beds at rehabilitation centers but only 250 are occupied.
At an event in Amritsar, 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% 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% addicts. If it conducts the survey in all 22 districts, the percentage would go down to one. Only 1% of the people are addicts.”
Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment and Punjab BJP chief Vijay Sampla had claimed last week, that less than 1% of the state’s population was drug addicts. However, he also said the AIIMS report on drugs was “not authentic”, and that the sample size for the study in the state was very small. Sampla had rejected the data.
Explaining 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.”