Chandigarh, Aug 1 (PTI) The Punjab government will soon introduce urine test every six months for dispensing de-addiction drugs to check abuse.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh disclosed this during his 'AskCaptain' Facebook live session on Saturday in response to a question, according to an official statement.

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A Ludhiana youth had requested the chief minister to direct outpatient opioid assisted treatment (OOAT) clinics to give 10 days of medicine at a time, as per the past practice, as otherwise a lot of time was wasted every day in long queues to get the daily dose of medication.

Due to this daily waiting time, he was getting late for work every day, the youth said.

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In response, Singh said his government would soon introduce urine tests every six months to ensure that there is no diversion of the medicine.

While the government has already allowed seven-day take-home for the de-addiction medicines, bulk quantities could not be handed over as this has the potential for abuse and can be counterproductive, he added.

There has been a sharp increase in the number of patient visits and medicine distribution at the OOAT centres per day over the past three months amid the coronavirus restrictions, which have affected availability of drugs for addicts.

The number of patients coming for treatment rose three times.

A total of 1,03,553 patients came for medicine in the month of July 2019 whereas this number jumped to 3,26,301 till June 20 in just one year.

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