Punjab govt's dope test for police recruits a success: 98% candidates clean

Rajeev Khanna @CatchNews | First published: 15 October 2016, 17:46 IST
Punjab govt conducts dope test on wannabe cops
Arya Sharma/Catch News

Some time ago, the SAD-BJP government in Punjab carried out doping tests on Punjab Police aspirants. And though it was a measure brought about by political compulsions, the government seems to have set the right precedent.

The Substance Abuse Test (SAT), to which the aspirants were subjected, gave ammunition to the Akalis ahead of the forthcoming Assembly polls to debunk the allegations from the Opposition Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party of high drug abuse prevalent among the youth in the state.

A screening test at the entry level in the police force is an appreciable measure - after all, if there is a high rate of drug addiction among the youth, how can the police remain isolated from the phenomenon?

Police authorities in the state are right now trying to analyse the data related to the youth who failed the SAT. This analysis will surely help them in the days to come in tackling the drug menace.

More than 3.75 lakh candidates, mostly clean

Between July and September, as per a sop announced by the state government, 7,416 constables were recruited into the force. Over 3.75 lakh candidates appeared for the test.

And, as per one of the largest ever official samples on the drug menace in Punjab, the government now claims that the allegations of the drug problem are "wild, reckless and utterly irresponsible".

The chairman of the Central Recruitment Board, Additional Director General pf Police (ADGP) Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota, disclosed that 98% of the candidates cleared the SAT. He said a mere 1.3% of the applicants tested positive for drug abuse, which exposes as false the allegations that 70-80% of Punjabi youth were drug addicts. Some 0.65% of the applicants tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.

Sahota claimed that a large number of those who failed were found to have taken amphetamine, a performance enhancing medical drug, which traditionally does not fall in the category of the 'drugs' which are believed to be serious or even life threatening in nature.

"Candidates found to have been under the influence of amphetamine, a performance enhancing drug, are permitted by the authorities to reappear in the recruitment test after a gap of seven days," he said.

However, while the government waves these figures in the face of all its detractors, the Opposition continues to accuse the government of remaining in denial.

What were the failures having?

Authorities are now studying the data regarding candidates who had failed the dope test. There are reports that 1,775 out of the 6,558 aspirants who failed the test had used marijuana. The other drugs used by the failed applicants include benzodiazepine and morphine (1,238 candidates). Reports say that samples of 388 candidates were found to have traces of multiple drugs, including heroin and opium.

Most of the aspirants who failed the test were from Fazilka and Patiala. A few days ago, a majority of those who had tested positive were given a chance to reappear in the tests, and most of them tested negative.