Panels to build up health profile of medical students in Punjab

LAHORE:06 December: The Punjab government has constituted six-member committees of senior doctors at each public sector medical universities/colleges to prepare data of students for the maintenance of their health profile, including blood group, smoking and drug intake history following the reports of drug abuse at teaching institutions. The committees have been assigned task to carry out tests/screening of the drug addict students of medical institutes. “Formulate and implement structured and standardised mechanism for screening/identification of potential drug abusers among the students comprising clinical signs/symptoms and laboratory tests with due consideration to the moral/ethical values associated with this sensitive subject,” reads an official notification. The committees have also been asked to obtain non-drug addiction declaration from parents of students at the time of admission and their entry into the hostel. The step was taken on the basis of intelligence tip-off that the male and female students of the educational institutions were involved in drug abuse, particularly, the ice, a highly addictive narcotics becoming popular among them. Initiative aims at curbing drug abuse in colleges, universities The Punjab specialiased healthcare and medical education department notified committees assigning them a task for preparing profile of the students and their rehabilitation. According to the notification, it has made professor of psychiatry department as convener of the each vigilance committee. Senior teachers each from medicine department, forensic medicine & toxicology, community medicine, legal consultant of the institution and the students’ representative to be nominated by the vice chancellors/deans/head of the institutions/principals would be the members. Talking about the perspective of the initiative, an official said the reports on criminals belonging to various organised networks supplying drugs to academic institutions all over Punjab had perturbed the authorities. Recently, he said, the Punjab special branch alerted the Kasur police about an organised network supplying ice drug to a private medical college in Kahna. The agency recommended timely action against the drug peddlers. Kasur District Police Officer (DPO) Zahid Nawaz Marwat also confirmed to Dawn that notorious criminal Amjad alias Sunny was heading the nexus. He said the alleged criminal was wanted to the Kasur police in so many cases lodged against him with various police stations of the city.Mr Marwat added that following some credible information, he had dispatched a police team which carried out raid at Sunny’s Mustafabad residence on Nov 15 but he managed to escape. Later, the police came to know that he had gone underground somewhere in Lahore and the Kasur police were trying to trace his hideout for his arrest, the DPO said.Keeping in view the disturbing facts regarding supply of narcotics to medical institutions, the health department issued terms of reference for the vigilance committees to ensure implementation on them in letter and spirit. According to the ToRs, the tobacco sale points on the premises of the teaching institutions will be prohibited. The screening (regarding involvement in the spurious activities and drug abuse) of lower staff, canteen employees, staff hired for outsource services, etc. with the help of police and other law-enforcement agencies should be done. Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2019.

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