Every third male student in Punjab drug addict, HC told According to a Punjab Government survey, 66 per cent of the school-going students in the state consume gutkha or tobacco; every third male and every tenth female student has taken drugs on one pretext or the other and seven out of 10 college-going students abuse one or the other drug. These disturbing details were submitted by Harjit Singh, Secretary, Department of Social Security and Women & Child Development, Chandigarh, in reply to a petition filed by some to drug rehabilitation centres before the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The affidavit further read that “In the recent times, the amount of narcotic substances seized in the state has also been among the highest in the country”. The secretary, on behalf of the Punjab Government, submitted that “the vibrancy of Punjab is virtually a myth.... many sell their blood to procure their daily doze of deadly drugs, even beg on the streets for money to continue their addiction... The entire Punjab is in the grip of drug hurricane which weakens the morale, physique and character of the youth. We are in the danger of losing the young generation. The vibrant Punjab that had ushered in the green revolution is today living in a dazed stupor as 67 per cent of its rural household has at least one drug addict.” He added that use of alcohol and drugs is now a “part of the Punjabi culture”. “No celebration is complete until liquor is served in plenty. However, in the last two decades, the pattern of drug use in the state has undergone a change in favour of new narcotic and synthetic drugs. Now the addicts ... contd.consume multiple as well as single drugs,” read the reply. Punjab alone accounts for roughly over one-fifth of the total recoveries of heroin in the country. The state submitted that studies have been conducted which shed light on the problem in different population groups. The drug traffickers use the cities of Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ferozepur, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, Patiala as well as Chandigarh to smuggle the narcotic substances through Punjab. What the studies show • Opiates, their derivatives and synthetic opiate drugs are used by 70 per cent of the addicts, followed by a combination of opiate and other sedatives, including morphine. • Extent of drug addiction in Punjab is 70 per cent. Household survey indicates that there is at least one drug addict in the 65 per cent of families in Majha and Doaba and 64 percent families of Malwa. Tarn Taran is the most affected rural district and Amritsar is the most affected urban district in Punjab. • Per head consumption of alcohol is the maximum in Punjab and Tarn Taran district tops the list. • In border areas, the extent of substance abuse is 70-75 per cent in the age group of 15-25 years and up to 40 per cent in the age group of 35-60 years. • Over 16 per cent population is addicted to hard drugs.