Punjab govt likely to sign MoU with United Nations to intensify its war against drugs
The Punjab government is all set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations as part of its efforts to intensify its war against drugs.
Chandigarh: The Punjab government is all set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations as part of its efforts to intensify its war against drugs.
The decision was taken at a meeting between Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and UNODC representative Sergey Kapinos on Wednesday, said an official release.
The MoU will be signed between the health department, the Special Task Force (STF) on drugs and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in the second week of June, it said.
It was also decided to develop a roadmap for the project implementation for which a project committee will be set up.
The committee will be headed by principal secretary (Health) with STF chief ADGP Harpreet Singh Sidhu as co-convenor, besides two representatives of UNODC.
The chief minister directed the health secretary to finalise the terms of the MoU after consultation with all stakeholders to identify the areas of cooperation, the release said.
Pre-project activity will start immediately after signing of the MoU and the execution will move forward full steam as soon as the project funding is cleared by the UN, it said.
Kapinos appreciated the work done by the Amarinder Singh government in fighting the drugs problem, saying the "political will that had been shown by the state could deliver exemplary results and set an example in combating the menace not only in India but the entire region."
Referring to Punjab's vulnerability to drugs on account of its proximity to Pakistan, the UN official spoke about the need to involve the clergy and the Gurdwaras (Sikh's place of worship) to create awareness and reach out to the victims.
He also stressed the need to address the issue of drug abuse in prisons, thus underlining the importance of prison rehabilitation and reforms.
The UNODC representative offered the agency's help in improving law enforcement and policing to combat drugs.
He suggested e-programmes in Hindi and Punjabi to connect with the local youths, which he said was the most vulnerable group.
Kapinos informed the chief minister that the agency's programmes involving mothers had proved very successful in other countries, and could be emulated in Punjab.
STF chief ADGP Harpreet Singh Sidhu spoke about the three-pronged strategy adopted by the force to combat the drugs menace.
He said 30 lakh students and 10 lakh adults were being involved in the anti-drugs awareness drive in the state.
In his presentation, Kapinos shared details of the 'Star Strategy' developed by UNODC ROSA to facilitate the state government in protecting the health of drug abusers, including measures to ensure their holistic rehabilitation by providing evidence-based treatment, such as Opioid Substitution Theory for people with Opioid disorder, which in turn would reduce the demand for illegal opioids.
The UN representative also informed the CM about the Opioid Treatment Interventions being piloted by UNODC in Kapurthala and Bathinda and promised assistance to the state government in scaling up of operations in these areas.
The UNODC strategy also listed measures to guarantee security of other citizens by adopting a model of gender inclusiveness with targeted programmes for women drug users, women sex partners of drug users, women prisoners and women living with HIV.
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