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Alarming rise in HIV among drug addicts--notably punjabi youths!


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This trend if not stopped will get worse and worse, seriously what alternatives are there, whos's to blame?

Alarming rise in HIV among drug addicts
Against the national average of 10% among injectable drug users, the count stands much high at 40% in Amritsar and 27% in Tarn Taran
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service


(Above) the locked gate of the de-addiction centre at Kairon village in Tarn Taran district and (Below) drug wrappers and injections lie strewn at a deserted building next to the Civil Hospital. Photos: Vishal Kumar

Tarn Taran, January 7
The rampant drug addiction among youths in Punjab is putting them at the risk of bigger danger — HIV infection. The HIV prevalence among injectable drug users (IDUs) is 27 per cent in Tarn Taran and 40 per cent in Amritsar, much above the national average of 10 per cent.

The Opiod Substitution Therapy (OST) Centre here has over 1,000 registered male patients, of whom 180 have been regularly visiting the centre to avail the treatment. Amritsar too has an OST Centre with 420 men listed with it; 90 have been visiting regularly for treatment. Confirming the figures, the centre’s nodal officer, Dr Rana Ranbir Singh, said most alarming was the fact that HIV prevalence had far exceeded the national average in these border areas.

OST centres are an initiative of the National Aids Control Organisation, which provides free medicines for the treatment of IDUs.

Sources said one of the main reasons behind the increasing number of IDUs was that addicts find injecting drugs cost-effective. By injecting drugs, primarily heroin, into their veins, they get a high with a small quantity of the drug. On the other hand, addicts end up wasting a part of the heroin if they sniff it, said sources.

Apart from heroin, the border belt youth are getting hooked on to smack and pharmaceutical drugs like morphine. The addicts mostly are in the 20-40 age group, but they cut across different sections of the society. Another cause for concern was the easy availability of drugs, which was corroborated by various individuals. An addict from Sakhyawali village said he never faced any problem in getting his daily dose. He said most of those dealing in the drug trade themselves were addicts.

A physician from Guru Ka Khu village said drug peddlers and addicts could easily be spotted on the streets carrying out their deals in a secretive manner. “Some people even run the drug racket from their houses,” he said.

Among the areas where drug addiction is on the rise in Tarn Taran are Patti, Khemkaran, Valtoha and Khalra, besides villages like Kazikot, Valipur, Bugga, Palsora, Fatehchak and Muradpur.

De-addiction facilities ill-equipped

Though drug addiction is rising in the border belt, de-addiction facilities seem to be unmatchable. A couple of months back, only the district headquarters had de-addiction and OST centres in its civil hospital. The de-addiction centre in Patti got functional two months ago, but it is yet to start proper medication of addicts. A de-addiction centre located at Kairon village near Patti has been lying shut for the past sometime while the infrastructure inside it is rotting. The authorities have neither shifted its furniture to a hospital nor put the building to an alternative use. This, despite the fact that addicts from Patti had been visiting Tarn Taran for treatment in the past. Dr Rana, also the in-charge of the Patti centre, said the town will soon have its own OST centre and Tarn Taran will become the first district in the country to have two OST centres.

Worst-hit areas in Tarn Taran

Patti, Khemkaran, Valtoha and Khalra and villages like Kazikot, Valipur, Bugga, Palsora, Fatehchak and Muradpur.

Addicts using deserted buildings

Drug addicts have been exploiting the premises of government hospitals and de-addiction centres to have their daily dose of drugs. The Tribune team spotted the leftovers of paper used to sniff drugs at a deserted building of the Panchayati Raj Department located on the premises of the Tarn Taran Civil Hospital, besides a room inside the de-addiction centre building in Patti. Superintendent of Police (detective) Harvinder Singh said he would be issuing orders to all station house officers to keep an eye on deserted buildings in the district.

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The drugs GhalluGhara where the profits from dead Sikh bodies fund millionaire lifestyles in Lahore and Delhi, the female infanticide GhalluGhara and the division of the Panth along lines and Gurdwara's determined by one's family background need a more determined Dharam Yudh now today in 2013 than was the case when Indira Gandhi was hellbent on murdering innocent Sikhs almost 30 years ago. If we can't win the battle on these three objectives as well as ensuring 100% literacy within the Panth it kind of renders dreams for the resurrection of Khalsa Raj indefinitely on hold. We won't achieve Khalsa Raj until our Qaum is virtually 100% drugs free, with an equal male/female ratio and united saanjhay Sangat Gurdwara's in every locality and educated youth who can meaningfully do seva for the Panth and wider humanity. The youth in the Diaspora can lead this Dharam Yudh via our actions now and through daswand or direct participation and by increasing literacy amongst the poor and oppressed globally we can ensure more fighters for the Sikh battle to ensure Sarbat dha Bhalla for all humanity.





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40% in Amritsar? Flip me, that's horrendous.

Kaljugi Paji it's the proximity to Pakistan that is responsible for the increased prevalance of drugs and HIV there. Instead of us doing yatra's to the historic Gurdwara's in Pakistan we need to simply pray at our local Gurdwara's and focus the money saved on travelling to Pakistan (which is then used by the ISI to flood our side of Punjab with even more heroine etc) concentrated on local upliftment, education and Sikhi parchar as the most effective way to combat drugs and HIV.

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AIDS is bad news . Alwars wear a condom or best thing just dont do it. Its bad for you.

The AIDS is from the needles they pass around when doing drugs; it's not from unprotected intercourse. Although those numbers must include a few cases of intercourse-related AIDS victims the thrust of the article is to do with drugs.

Literally an entire generation lost to drugs.

That's exactly what the powers-to-be desired when they huddled around in a darkened room in Delhi somewhere back in 1984 post-Operation Bluestar. "How to kill off future generations of Sikhs without firing another bullet". Seems like they've succeeded.

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