LAHORE: In order to curb the menace of recreational drugs usage, the Punjab government has decided to constitute a task force comprising ministers of health, higher education, school education, excise taxation and narcotics control as well secretaries concerned, Pakistan Today learnt Wednesday.
In this regard, a meeting on substance abuse was also conducted by Provincial Health Minister Dr Yasmeen Rashid and Higher Education Minister Raja Yasir Humayun, wherein different ways to discourage the use of drugs were discussed.
“Addicts and their facilitators have openly started to sell, purchase and use drugs, which is becoming a curse for the society,” the health minister said during the meeting. Expressing concern, she also said that addicts need to be rehabilitated on an urgent basis.
“All departments need to prepare a comprehensive plan to control the situation and if any new legislation or laws are needed, we will prepare those as well,” Dr Yasmeen added.
She further said that the government was considering establishing a helpline for drug addicts using which parents, school administration and the general public will be able to register their complaints.
“The use of drugs in educational institutions is worrisome and temporary rehabilitation of drug addicts is not productive. A permanent solution to the problem is needed. People from different walks of life in the society should also play their role in controlling this grave situation,” the minister said and added that the proposed task force would also propose different steps that are needed on an urgent basis.
A private high school teacher, Taimur Hassan, while speaking to Pakistan Today also expressed concern over the prevailing situation and said, “It is alarming how students are being lured towards drugs usage at such a young age.”
Parents, he added, need to keep a check on their children and monitor their spending.
Another teacher of a private university, Samia Zahid, told this scribe that students had gone to an extent that they no longer regarded the institutions’ decorum either.
“We have been raising awareness among students and have also expelled some of them on the account of using drugs or selling the same to others. Sometimes we get pressurised by influentials or political players if we take action against such students, but I wonder why they don’t understand such steps are important to keep the youth on the right track.”
The thriving drugs business, she added, was ruining the future of the country.