Amid a number of suspected drug overdose deaths in the recent past, a section of politicians has renewed the demand for legalising sale of opium in Punjab – which they consider a better option for users hooked on drugs.
Talking to The Indian Express, senior Akali leader Sikander Singh Maluka said, “(A)Feem di eh history aa, na aj tak koyee khake marya, na ghar baar vechya (This is the history of opium that no-one died by consuming it, nor anyone had to sell his house and property).” He added, “There could be a rare exception who may have consumed it in large quantity.”
On the other hand, he said the youth were getting hooked on various harmful drugs like chitta and others.
Former Patiala MP Dharamvira Gandhi – who had in 2016 even moved a private member’s bill in Parliament seeking to decriminalise opium, marijuana and poppy husk and amend the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 – said legalising the sale of such substances can finish the mafia completely. “It will cut the ground from under their feet,” Dharamvira Gandhi told The Indian Express. “Let there be an atmosphere of fearlessness that users can get the drugs from a reliable, legal, authenticated legal force,” he said.