Drug abuse lands cops in deadly mess

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Old 22-Apr-2008
Drug abuse lands cops in deadly mess

AMRITSAR: Rampant drug abuse and unsafe sex is pricking hard the Punjab Police, jeopardizing the lives of as many as 178 police personnel in the district of Tarn Taran alone. What has only compounded their case is the indifferent attitude of government, which is yet to wake up to the ticking bomb within its ranks.

In startling revelations that should be enough to jolt the police top brass, Sandeep Kakkar, the senior medical officer at Police Hospital, Tarn Taran, told TOI on Monday that during a health check-up doctors found 178 police personnel carrying the Hepatitis B, C and HIV virus.

"In fact, 72 of the 178 who tested positive for these dreaded diseases have been shortlisted as critical," he said, adding that because expenditure involved in treating Hepatitis C was Rs 3.30 lakh per person, the only way these cops could possibly survive was with government aid.

Every Hepatitis B or C patient has to be given Alpha B 2 Interferon injection that costs around Rs 14,000 each and 24 such injections have to be given to complete the course.

"None of the police personnel is in a position to spend this much money and they are inching towards death due to lack of treatment," Kakkar said.

"Unclean syringes used by the drug addicts in the police department coupled with unsafe sex practiced by some of them are the major causes of the deadly viruses spreading."

IG, Border Range, Rajpal Meena admitted that drug addiction was a major problem in Tarn Taran district and it was seriously affecting the police force.

He said he had already taken up with the DGP the issue of treatment of the infected cops.

Others too have stepped up efforts to have the suffering police personnel treated urgently. AK Vermani, an advocate, informed that sub-inspector Sucha Singh and head constable Balbir Singh have filed a petition in court seeking immediate financial help for the 72 critical cops.

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