Punjab Assembly and University
Punjab Assembly established Punjabi University, Patiala under the Punjab Act No. 35 of 1961. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, the then President of India laid foundation of Punjabi University on June 24, 1962. He preached, "The institutes of higher education share the burden of nation-building in a critically important sense. Our aim is a strong, free and democratic India where every citizen has an equal place and full opportunity of growth. In this task, a vast responsibility rests on our universities.
Punjabi University in Patiala is starting a PG Diploma course titled Counselling for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment’ from the first week of September. This is seen as a measure to control the monstrous problem of substance abuse prevalent among the youth in the state. The admission process has begun since the second week of July.
Insights of the Course
The course was planned after the University Grants Commission (UGC) accepted the proposal sent by the Punjabi University to begin a course targeting the problem. The course was formulated in April 2018 as a correspondence course, which is also open for working professionals.
The course will shed light on the nature of drugs, their treatment and how to prevent the usage of drugs. Besides the basic curriculum, the students will have to implement their knowledge in their day-to-day life by encouraging others around them to say ‘No to drugs’.
Mamta Sharma, nodal officer and professor of psychology, Punjabi University, refers to it as the most relevant course for the youth. “Being a border agricultural state, Punjab is vulnerable to drugs and other narcotics coming in illegally. Youngsters at time may feel isolated that lead them to substance abuse.” The module of the course gives equal importance to theoretical and practical aspects. “We would be teaching every minute details of drug prevention to students. They will get an opportunity to intern in hospitals and rehabilitation centres to spread the message. Our prime focus would be on prevention of drugs and not just rehabilitation,” added Sharma.
There is a need to have pan-India anti-drugs courses, which should be introduced in colleges everywhere. “Detachment from the society, access to internet, lack of attention can be a major cause of students indulging in substance abuse.
“The schools should revise their curriculum and every college should have sessions on this topic along with having it as a subject.” There are two types of initiatives against drug abuse, running in Punjab — one being the Drug Abuse Prevention Officers (DAPO) and the other one is Buddy Programme.
“Buddy Programme promotes having a buddy responsible for reporting any cases of his/her classmates talking to strangers or getting involved in drugs. DAPOs are government-appointed volunteers who identify addicts and spread the message against drug abuse in every district,” adds Mamta.