As part of its fight against drug abuse, the Punjab government today held a meeting with the vice chancellors of various universities in the state to take their views, suggestions and inputs on curbing the menace.
The move was aimed at prevention of drug abuse, especially among youth and university students through consistent and innovative methods of awareness and education.
The meeting held here was chaired by S K Sandhu, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Higher Education, Punjab.
Sandhu said that the Punjab government is committed to wipe out the menace of drug abuse and multi-pronged strategy has been adopted to accomplish this task.
"Already, a Special Task Force (Anti-drug) has been constituted, which is stringently enforcing the law and nabbing the violators, and on the other hand the government is providing effective de-addiction and rehabilitation services for people affected to drug abuse," he said.
He said the government is proactively working towards forming strategies to prevent the youngsters falling in trap of drugs.
Sandhu asserted that the university programme has been evolved since it was felt that there was a need to educate, aware and involve the youth effectively in the prevention of drug-abuse campaign.
He stressed that to curb drug abuse it requires joint efforts by different sections of the society.
He asked the universities to identify resource persons with whom the government can interact for implementing this programme.
Harpreet Singh Sidhu, Additional Director General Police (ADGP), Special Task Force, shared with the VCs of universities the details of "Buddy Programme" specially devised by experts of STF in consultation with eminent psychiatrists.
According to studies, children in adolescent age group as well as in the age group of 18-25 years reel under great peer pressure.
"This age groups are vulnerable groups," he said and emphasised that the "Buddy programme" has been specially designed with focus on students, as part of which a group of five students of same section/batch is formed, who monitor, motivate and hold moral responsibility for each other and encourage mutual safety and empowerment.
Sandhu discussed the strategies to be adopted by professors and teachers, so as to motivate their students to stay away from drugs.
Vice chancellors and their representatives from Panjab University, Chandigarh, Punjabi University, Patiala, GNDU Amritsar, besides some private varsities were present.
The VCs discussed the various measures being taken at the level of their respective universities for awareness and to combat the menace of drug abuse in their campuses.
They also gave a few suggestions to the government like removal of 'Khokhas' or kiosks, small time vendors from nearby and periphery of their campuses since such vendors are often found to be a great source of supplying intoxicants, they pointed out.
Other suggestions given by them included regular interactions between university students and SSPs of districts, special focus on regular checking of hostels by university staff, more student engagement programmes, use of university radio channels, among other measures.
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