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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Sindh Government to Implement Random Drug Tests in Schools

The Sindh government proposes random drug tests in educational institutions to combat rising drug use among students, focusing on detection, prevention, and tracing drug sources.

On Monday, lawmakers in the Sindh Assembly proposed conducting random drug tests in educational institutions to curb drug abuse among youth. The initiative, supported by both treasury and opposition members, aims to screen students seeking admission to private and public sector colleges and universities.

Only those who test negative would be admitted. Furthermore, students in high schools, colleges, and universities who test positive would be denied admit cards for their examinations.

The proposal was part of a debate sparked by an adjournment motion tabled by Pakistan Peoples Party’s Nida Khuhro, addressing the alarming increase in drug use among students. Senior Minister Sharjeel Memon assured the assembly that the proposal would be presented to the provincial cabinet. Memon emphasized the confidentiality of positive test results, which would be shared only with the students’ parents to trace the source of drugs.

Government’s Commitment to Eradicating Drug Abuse

Sindh Minister for Narcotics Control, Sharjeel Inam Memon, announced that random drug tests would initially be conducted in Karachi schools to identify drug peddlers. Memon clarified that no legal action would be taken against students testing positive; instead, their parents would be informed, and the students would be questioned about their drug suppliers. The provincial government plans to extend these tests to all schools, both private and government-run, to tackle the drug epidemic.

Recent actions by the Sindh government include the establishment of a Rapid Response Unit (RRU) in the Excise Department’s office. This unit, operational 24/7, aims to ensure swift action against drug trafficking. Memon highlighted that the government is focused on eliminating the menace of highly addictive drugs like ice and crystal meth from educational institutions.

Impact and Response from Stakeholders

The initiative has garnered mixed reactions. Health Minister Dr. Azra Pechuho stressed the seriousness of the drug problem, noting that synthetic drugs are easily accessible online and commonly used at student parties. Pechuho warned that students initially using drugs for exam preparation could quickly become addicted. Despite some resistance, Memon stated that the provincial government would seek consensus among stakeholders to implement the tests.

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The proposed random drug tests are part of a broader effort to combat drug abuse in Sindh. Recent surveys indicate that drug use is prevalent among students in elite schools. The government’s crackdown includes a recent high-profile arrest of a drug supplier in Clifton, revealing startling information about the spread of drugs in educational institutions. Memon described drug addicts as potential dangers, likening them to “walking time bombs.”

The Sindh government’s decisive steps, including random drug tests and enhanced measures against drug trafficking, reflect a strong commitment to addressing the rising drug abuse among youth. The initiative aims to protect students and ensure a safer educational environment, marking a significant move in the fight against narcotics in the province.