PESHAWAR: Around 25 per cent of over 800 drug addicts detained by Peshawar administration during the last one week for rehabilitation have tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The district administration had launched a crackdown on over 2,000 drug addicts in the city last Sunday leading to their detention and shifting to both government and privately-owned rehabilitation centres for detoxification.

Commissioner of Peshawar division Riaz Khan Mehsud told Dawn that the administration had so far taken over 800 drug addicts into custody from different parts under the Drugs Free Peshawar Campaign and 11 of them were women.

“Around 25 per cent of the drug addicts kept in rehab centres have been diagnosed with HIV,” he said.

Commissioner says detainees being detoxified in govt, private centres

Mr Mehsud said necessary medical tests were being performed on the first day of the admission of the drug addicts to rehabilitation centres before being separated from each other accordingly.

He said the detainees were provided with quality treatment.

“The authorities have planned to take the operation against drug addicts to its logical end,” he said.

The commissioner said after the provincial capital, the exercise would be extended to the entire Peshawar division, including Khyber, Charsadda, Mohmand and Nowshera districts.

He said the provincial government was bearing all expenses incurred on the treatment of drug addicts.

“Detoxification of a drug addict costs Rs40,000 a month,” he said, adding that the treatment will last three months.

Mr Mehsud also said the authorities had developed a ‘contact tracking and tracing mechanism for the detainees’ families to get them back on track in their lives’.

He said the excise and taxation, social welfare and police departments along with the district administration were working as a team to address the issue in the provincial capital.

Regarding the drug supply issue, Mr Mehsud said the required preventive measures and required full throttle action by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) and excise, taxation, narcotics control and police departments.

Meanwhile, an official statement was issued here revealing that a meeting has been scheduled today (Sunday) to discuss the extension of the crackdown on drug addicts to other areas.

According to it, the participants, including the relevant deputy commissioners and social welfare officers, will discuss the modalities of extending the operation to the districts of Mohmand, Khyber, Charsadda and Nowshera.

They will also review progress of the Drugs Free Peshawar Campaign launched earlier this week.

In Feb this year, the district administration had decided to launch a crackdown on drugs and their addicts.

According to it, Peshawar’s Karkhano Market, Board Bazaar’s railway line, Khyber Teaching Hospital’s boundary wall, Bus Rapid Transit’s overhead bridge in Khyber Bazaar, Shoba Bazaar, Bacha Khan Chowk, Dalazak Road railway warehouse, Yakatut and railway track near the Lady Reading Hospital are the hotspots of drug addicts.

Under the Drugs Free Peshawar Campaign, the authorities are removing drugs addicts from streets on a permanent basis in the first phase and treating and detoxifying them in the next for their sustainable rehabilitation and adjustment in society, and have identified around 1,800 beds in public and private sector health facilities for it.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2022

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