3 February 2024


United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), New Delhi, India, Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA), in collaboration with the Institute of Correctional Administration (ICA), Chandigarh organized a training programme on “HIV and Drugs” for the law enforcement officers of the State of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh at ICA, Chandigarh.

The Hon’ble Minister of Health and Family Welfare Government of Punjab, Dr. Balbir Singh,inaugurated the programme. Dr.Balbir Singh in his inaugural address spoke on HIV and drugs as not only a legal and health problem ,but also a social issue . He emphasized on the need for depenalization in relation to drug users and more outreach for treatment and prevention. He highlighted the urgency of a multi-disciplinary approach to combat drug addiction and collaboration with various departments.

Mr. Marco Teixeira, Regional Representative, UNODC ROSA, New Delhi in his opening remarks called for a collaborative and inter-sectoral approach to deal with HIV and drug issues.

Dr Upneet Lalli from ICA said, “Punjab has a large number of drug users in its prisons and both hepatitis and HIV prevalence is high in prison populations. Prison health is a public health issue and training law enforcers is essential to deal with these problems . Not only supply and demand reduction but harm reduction strategies were deliberated upon by experts .”

Sh.Sanjeev Kalra, IPS, DGP Home Guards, Punjab delivered special remarks at the inaugural ceremony. Around 30 police and prison officers and members of State AIDS Control Society (SACS) from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh participated in this training workshop. The programme raised awareness and addressed some misconceptions on HIV and drug use and treatment. Various topics were covered by experts from the World Health Organisation(WHO), UNODC, National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC), and Alliance India.

Seema Joshi from UNODC urged the law enforcement staff to work effectively to protect public health and promote health related intervention. Dr.Sandeep Bhola, Deputy Medical Commissioner & Consultant Psychiatrist, Kapurthala, Punjab focused on harm reduction and the role of Law Enforcement(LE) officers in the successful implementation of programmes aimed at countering HIV and drug use. The training equipped the officials with accurate facts and information about HIV and Drugs that will enhance and support the LE official’s role in the National HIV response.


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