Chandigarh: On an average, for the past two months one person dies every day due to drugs.
As per the records accessed by The Tribune since May 15 drugs are being mentioned as the cause of death in the post-mortem reports of more than 60 young men at government hospitals across the state.
All the victims were in the age of 18-35. Five of them were less than 21 and the youngest was 18.
These deaths were reported from around 15 districts, mostly in Majha and Doaba. Health officials say the actual may be much more, as in most such cases the cause is not reported truthfully by families due to the fear of social taboo, and also there is reluctance on the part of police to acknowledge deaths due to drugs. Amritsar district tops the chart with over 10 deaths.
During a Cabinet meeting, Health Minister Brahm Mohindra stated “there were only two confirmed and two suspected drug deaths on record”, adding that he was not aware of the latest figures.
To initiate action, under relevant sections, the samples have been sent for testing in Kharar. According to forensic experts, the analysis can reveal the nature of the substance (drug) taken, but not the quantity consumed or injected.
The recent deaths demand immediate as the supply of adulterated heroin is suspected to be causing sudden deaths.
Chemical analysis can help zero in on the adulteration agent, which can provide vital information about the treatment strategies and the supply chain.
However, at the Kharar laboratory, the challenge is that there is a huge backlog, with around 5,000 samples lying in the storeroom, waiting to be analysed in various cases. There is an around two-year waiting period for testing in routine case owing to the backlog.
But as the government is addressing the recent drug deaths with urgency, the tests in these cases have been sought to be done on priority.